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Backdating a housing benefit claim

How do you qualify for backdating?

If you have reached the qualifying age to claim State Pension Credit, your entitlement can be backdated to a maximum of three months from the date you make your claim. You do not have to apply for backdating, but you may have to supply details of your income and capital for the period concerned. In all other cases, benefit can only be backdated for a maximum of one month from the date of your backdating request.

In order for a claim to be backdated we must be satisfied that:

  • you have shown good cause for failing to claim earlier; and
  • that good cause existed continuously during the period for which backdating is being requested.

You will need to show continuous good cause for not claiming earlier and we must be satisfied that your circumstances during this time were such that any reasonable person of your age and experience would also have failed to claim benefit. You have to prove good cause, but we must take account of all the facts of your case. Some examples of when you may have good cause are:

  • you did not immediately claim benefit after leaving hospital;
  • you were ill and had no-one to make a claim on your behalf;
  • you did not understand that you could claim benefit, perhaps because of age, inexperience, or language difficulties;
  • you have suffered a recent family bereavement.

What happens when a backdated claim is made?

Your claim will be considered by the Benefits Team. The more information and evidence you give in support of your claim, the quicker a decision can be made. Sometimes it may be necessary to write to you for more information, or to ask you to come in for an informal interview. Your claim will be looked at within twenty-one days and you will be sent a letter telling you of our decision.

If we have decided that you have not shown good cause and that we cannot backdate your claim, the reasons for this will be explained in our letter. You will then have the right of appeal against our decision not to backdate your claim. For details of how to appeal see what are my rights of appeal?