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Backdated housing benefit claims

This content applies to England

There are pending updates to this page following Brexit and the end of transition period on 31 December 2020

Housing benefit can be backdated 1 month for working age claimants with a good reason for not claiming benefits earlier and 3 months for pension age claimants.

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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