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Guide to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support

Find detailed information about Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support including who is eligible to apply for it.

Published on: 8 December 2020

Last updated: 4 February 2021

Backdating a claim

Sometimes we can pay benefit for a period before the date you have claimed. This is called 'backdating' your claim.

The maximum that we can backdate a Housing Benefit claim made by someone of working age is 1 month and for Council Tax support the maximum is 6 months.

There has to be a good reason why your claim is late, this is known as 'good cause'.

By 'good cause' we mean things like:

  • if you were ill and had no-one to make the claim for you
  • if you could not reasonably have been expected to know your rights, for example, where there have been detailed changes in the law
  • if you did not understand that you could claim, perhaps because of age, language difficulties, difficulty in understanding technical documents, if you were wrongly advised by an official body that you were not entitled to benefit or if you were unable to manage your affairs and did not have an 'appointee' or someone to help you

If you think you have 'good cause' for making a late claim you should make a written request telling us the period you want to claim backdating, give full details and evidence of why your claim is late and supply all the evidence about your income as soon as possible.

We will then consider whether we can backdate your benefit and advise you in writing of our decision.

If you have reached pension age, benefit can be backdated for up to three months before the date of your claim, as long as you met the qualifying conditions during the backdating period.