Benefits - Application for Backdating Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction

Generally, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction cannot be paid for any period prior to a claim being received by the Benefits Section. However, if there are special circumstances, the Benefits Section can consider backdating your claim.

If you are aged under State Pension Credit age
If you want the Benefits Section to consider backdating your claim you must prove that there was 'good cause' for not making an earlier claim. This 'good cause' must be present for the whole of the period that you want backdated.

The maximum time that the Benefits Section can backdate a claim is 6 months. This time is from the date that the application for backdating is actually made.
Some examples of 'good cause' are shown below:

If you did not immediately claim (or reclaim) Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction after leaving hospital
If you were ill and could not make a claim and could not ask anyone to make the claim on your behalf
If you could not reasonably have been expected to know your rights. For example where there have been detailed changes in the law
If you did not understand that you could claim, perhaps because of age, inexperience, language difficulties or difficulty in understanding technical documents
If you were wrongly advised by an official body that you were not entitled to Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction
If you were unable to manage your affairs and did not have an appointee

Example:
Mrs Smith, aged 30, makes a claim for benefit on 1st December 2008. She states that she was ill for the period 1st August 2008 to 1st December 2008 and would like her benefit to be backdated for that period. She has proof from her doctor of her illness and therefore the Benefits Section decides that 'good cause' has been proven for this period.

Although the period of sickness started in August 2008 the Benefits Section can only award the backdated benefit from 1st September 2008 which is 3 months before the date that the application is made (i.e. 1st December 2008). The backdated award will be paid up to 1st December 2008 when Mrs Smith recovered from her illness.

If you are aged over State Pension Credit age
If you want the Benefits Section to consider backdating your claim you must state the date you wish your claim to be backdated to. You do not need to supply 'good cause' for the delay in making a claim. The maximum time that the Benefits Section can backdate a claim is 3 months. This time is from the date that the application for backdating is actually made.