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Housing benefits

Backdated claims

Backdated housing and/or council tax reduction and how to apply for it

We may be able to pay you benefit for a previous period that you did not claim for at the time because of your circumstances.

The law says that we can backdate a claim for up to:

  • one month for working age customers
  • three months for Pension Credit age customers**

**Anyone aged 60 - 64 can be classed as working age, but also be entitled to claim Pension Credit. The following rules apply to this age group:

  • If you or your partner are in receipt of Income Support, income-based Job seeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance, the one month time limit applies
  • If you or your partner are in receipt of Pension Credit, the three month time limit applies.

In what circumstance is backdated benefit awarded?

If you are a working age claimant, or a pension credit age claimant between 60 - 64 years, whose partner is claiming any of the benefits as explained above, it will be awarded if you prove "good causeand would have been entitled to benefit during the backdated period because of your income. "Good causeis the term mentioned in the Benefit Regulations, although no definition of it is given.

Some examples include:

  • Being misled by official information, for example from the Department for Work and Pensions or a solicitor.

  • Not reasonably being expected to understand the regulations due to age, illiteracy or language problems.

Good cause cannot be established simply because you were unaware of the right to benefit or the time limit for claiming. You are expected to take reasonable steps to establish your rights and duties by contacting your local area office or the Department for Work and Pensions.

If you have an official appointee, who was representing you at the time your earlier claim should have been made, their action or inaction is treated as though it were yours. In other words, it is your appointee who would have to show "good cause" for failing to make an earlier claim.

Please note, an award can only be given if good cause has been continuous from the date the earlier claim should have been completed until the date your written request is made.

Every claim is treated on its own merits but in general any facts that would probably have caused any reasonable person of your age, state of health and experience not to have claimed earlier will be considered.

How can I claim a backdated award?

If you, or your partner, are 60+, (and do not fall into the aged 60-64 category as described previously) we can automatically backdate your claim for up to three months from the date you apply, providing your circumstances mean you would have qualified earlier, otherwise you will have to make a claim in writing or by completing a backdate request form..

Depending upon the circumstances, we may ask you to provide evidence to support your request, for example, if you are ill we may ask for a letter from your doctor, hospital etc.

What if I am unhappy with your decision?

You can ask for a reconsideration of the decision. This must be made in writing. 

Please contact us if you have any questions.

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Page last updated:
05 Nov 2020

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