Backdating housing benefit

You may be entitled to backdated housing benefit for a limited period.

What is backdating?

You may be able to get housing benefit paid for a period before you made your claim if you would have been entitled to claim earlier.

The start date of your claim can be backdated for a maximum of:

  • 1 month if you're working age
  • 3 months if you're of pension credit age

Backdating for working age claimants

Your housing benefit can be backdated for up to 1 month if you're working age.

You must:

  • ask for your housing benefit claim to be backdated
  • have a good reason for claiming late

How to get your claim backdated

You can ask for your claim to be backdated when you apply for housing benefit

You'll be asked:

  • the date you want to claim benefit from
  • why you haven't claimed earlier

Send a covering letter to explain your circumstances in more detail and enclose supporting evidence if there's not enough space to explain things on your application.

Use our template letter

Reasons for backdating housing benefit

You must have a good reason for claiming late if you are of working age.

Good reasons can include if you were:

  • in hospital
  • going through a period of bereavement
  • given the wrong advice about claiming
  • waiting for a decision about your claim for another benefit

There may be other good reasons why you have claimed late. The council must look at your individual circumstances and decide whether your delay in claiming was reasonable.

Backdating for pension age claimants

Your housing benefit can be backdated for up to 3 months if you're pension age.

Your claim should be automatically backdated to the date you reached pension credit age or the date you have to pay rent from if this is later.

You don't have to give reasons for not claiming earlier.

Pension age backdating rules apply to a couple as long as one of you is old enough to claim pension credit.

Appealing a backdating decision

The council writes to you with its decision.

If you are not happy with the decision you can ask the council to look at it again.

A benefits adviser could help you:

Find out where to get benefits advice from the Money Advice Service

Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter

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