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Backdated claims

This content applies to England

Circumstances in which a claimant's housing benefit can be backdated.

Period of backdating

The rules depend upon whether the claimant is of working age or pension credit age.

Working age claimants

A claim for housing benefit for a claimant of working age can be backdated for a maximum of one month.[1]

A working age claimant must have a good cause (see below) for her/his late claim throughout the period for which backdating is requested.

Pension age claimants

A claim for housing benefit for a claimant who has attained the age to qualify for pension credit can be backdated for a maximum of three months.[2]

The Gov.uk state pension calculator can be used to calculate when a claimant will qualify for pension credit.

A pension age claimant does not have to ask for the claim to backdated or to demonstrate a 'good cause' for a late claim. S/he only needs to qualify for housing benefit and be of pension credit age during the period in question.[3]

Good cause

If a claimant of working age can show s/he has 'good cause' (a good reason) for not making a housing benefit claim for a period during which s/he was entitled to it, the local authority must backdate the claim.[4]

Examples of good cause might include if the claimant:

  • was waiting for a decision about another benefit
  • was too ill to claim and too ill to ask someone else to claim on her/his behalf
  • did not understand s/he could claim, for example because of age or communication difficulties or because s/he was wrongly advised that s/he was not entitled to housing benefit.

Hostel dwellers

If the housing benefit claim is for accommodation in a hostel where the rent is payable on a daily basis, the claimant does not need to show 'good cause'. In all cases, housing benefit for a hostel is awarded back to the date that the claimant moved in.[5]

[1] reg 83(12A) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213 as amended by reg 3 Housing Benefit (Abolition of the Family Premium and date of claim) (Amendment) Regulations 2015 SI 2015/1857; HB Circular A3/2016.

[2] reg 64(1) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214 as amended by reg 5 Social Security (Miscellaneous Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2008 SI 2008/2424.

[3] reg 64(1) Housing Benefit (Persons who have attained the qualifying age for pension credit) Regulations 2006 SI 2006/214.

[4] reg 83(12) Housing Benefit Regulations 2006 SI 2006/213.

[5] Part A2, para 2.510 DWP Housing Benefit Guidance Manual.

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