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:

  • one month if you are of working age
  • three months if you are of pension age

Backdating for working age claimants

Your housing benefit can be backdated for up to one month if you are of working age.

You must:

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

If you made your request before 1 April 2016 your housing benefit could be backdated for up to six months.

Backdating for pension age claimants

Your housing benefit can be backdated for up to three months if you are of pension credit 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 still apply if you are claiming pension credit even if your partner is below pension credit age.

If you are claiming universal credit as a couple and your partner is below pension credit age, you won't receive housing benefit and the rules are different.

How to get your claim backdated

Ask for your housing benefit claim to be backdated as soon as you can, if you are of working age.

You can make your request when you fill in your claim form. The form asks the date you want to claim benefit from and why you have not claimed before.

There is not much space on the form so you should include a covering letter to explain your circumstances in more detail and enclose supporting evidence where needed.

Use Shelter's template letter to ask the council to backdate your housing benefit

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.

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.

Use Shelter's directory to find an adviser in your local area


Last updated 25 Apr 2016 | © Shelter

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