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Can housing benefit be backdated?

You can sometimes get your housing benefit backdated if you could have applied earlier.

You could get a lump sum to cover the period before you claimed.

Your claim could be backdated for up to 1 month if you're working age.

If you're pension age, the rules are different.

When you can claim housing benefit

Most working age people cannot make a new claim for housing benefit.

You usually have to apply for universal credit.

You can get housing benefit if you're living in:

You get housing benefit for your rent in these types of housing even if you get universal credit for your other living costs.

How to get your claim backdated

Explain why you are claiming late when you apply for housing benefit.

A good reason could be:

  • you were in hospital or prison

  • serious problems with the postal service

  • the council, DWP or an advice agency gave you the wrong advice

There may be other good reasons.

The council must look at your situation and decide if the delay was reasonable.

Use our template

Copy the text into an email to your council:

[Use the subject: Housing benefit backdate request]

I would like to ask for my housing benefit to be backdated to [date].

I was not able to claim housing benefit before this because [reasons you applied late].

I have attached [evidence such as a letter from a doctor or support worker].

Please contact me if you need further information.

You can also read it out on the phone or send it by post:

If the council will not backdate your benefit

Ask for a review if you disagree with the decision.

A benefits adviser could help.

Last updated: 27 June 2023

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