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Backdating housing benefit

If there has been a reason which stopped or delayed you applying for housing benefit you can ask for your claim to be 'backdated' so that it starts from an earlier date.

The start date of your benefit claim

Under housing benefit law you must make your claim for benefit in writing, either on a benefits application form or by letter.

Normally we will start your claim from the Monday after we receive your application form or letter. It is therefore very important that you get your application form or letter to us as soon as possible because it affects the date your benefit claim will start from.

If you have contacted us for an application form you will have one month to return the form and evidence to us.

The rules on backdating benefit

If you are of pensionable age we can go back three months from your date of claim. We should do this automatically but we may need to ask you for earlier income or savings details.

If you are working age - which means under 60 - or if you are male and aged 60 to 64 and not claiming state pension credits and there is a reason why you were unable to apply for your benefit earlier you can ask for backdated benefits.

Claims can only be backdated if you can show 'good cause' for failing to claim at the correct time and throughout the backdated period. You need to tell us about what prevented you from claiming at the correct time.

We can only backdate a claim for a maximum of six months from the date of your claim for backdated benefit. In order for a claim to be backdated we must be satisfied that:

  • you have shown good cause for failing to claim earlier and
  • that good cause existed continuously during the period for which backdating is being requested

We must be satisfied that your circumstances during this time were such that any reasonable person of your age and experience would also have failed to claim benefit. We must take account of all the facts of your case.

Some examples of when you may have 'good cause' are:

  • if you did not immediately claim benefit after leaving hospital
  • if you were ill and had no-one to make a claim on your behalf
  • if you did not understand that you could claim benefit perhaps because of age, inexperience or language difficulties
  • if you have suffered a recent family bereavement.

If we are unable to backdate your claim, or you disagree with the start date of your claim, you can appeal against the decision.

From October 2008 the rules concerning backdating are expected to change. Claims will only be able to be backdated for a period of three months. We will update this information when we receive the new legislation.

Contact details

South Derbyshire District Council
Customer Services
Civic Offices
Civic Way
DE11 0AH

Tel: 01283 595795
Fax: 01283 595857
Online: Use this form to make a general enquiry or provide information

Page ref: LGSL 62, 68

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