Can you backdate my Housing Benefit and Council Tax
When will my benefit start?
If you qualify for Housing Benefit or Council
Tax Support (or both), we will normally pay your benefit on the
Monday after you asked us for an application form (as long as you
return the application form within one calendar month of contacting
Sometimes we can pay benefit for a period
before the date you claimed. This is called backdating. The
law says we can backdate your benefit for up to 6 months.
However, you must have a good reason why your claim is late.
This is known as ‘good cause’.
What is considered to be ‘good cause’?
We will look at each case individually.
‘Good cause’ is a reason that prevented you from claiming
benefit earlier. Good causes may include the following,
depending on the circumstances.
- You were ill and no-one else could claim for
- You were waiting for a decision about another
- You were given the wrong advice by an
official organisation who said you were not entitled to Housing
Benefit or Council Tax Support (or both).
- You did not understand that you could claim,
- of your age;
- you did not know how benefits
- you have language
- you have difficulty
understanding technical documents; or
- some other reason.
- You did not claim immediately after leaving
hospital, prison or long-term care.
- You were not able to manage your own affairs
and had no-one to help you.
- A close relative died.
These examples are only a guide to help you.
They are not a full list of all possible reasons. If
you forgot to claim, or did not know you could claim, this would
not be a good reason on its own. To qualify for backdated
benefit, you must be able to prove you had ‘good cause’ and why you
did not claim earlier.
How do I claim backdated benefit?
If you think you have good cause for making a
late claim, you should tell us straightaway. You can
click here to
download an application form or telephone 0845 600
6400 and we will send you a form. We will need to
see proof of your income, savings and rent payments for the period
you want to backdate your benefit for and any proof to support your
reasons (for example, medical certificates or hospital
If you would like some help, please telephone
0845 600 6400 or visit our Information
What happens then?
We will decide if we can backdate your benefit
based on the information you give us. We will write to you
and tell you our decision. If we decide not to backdate your
benefit, we will tell you why.
What if I do not agree with your decision?
We may decide that your reasons are not good
enough for us to backdate your benefit. If you do not agree
with our decision, you should write and ask us to look at the
decision again. You must contact us within one month of the
decision letter. You can also phone us on 0845 600 6400,
write to us or visit us to ask us to explain our decision.
You can also ask for a written statement of our reasons for
our decision which will give you more information.
If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal
to us in writing.
Northumberland County Council
Tel No 0845 6006400
Fax No 01670 620098
Department of Work and Pensions
If you would like any benefit document in a different format, or
if you need any help with language or translations please telephone
0845 600 6400 and we will do all we can to help.
You may also wish to use the facilities available on all of our
web pages including page translation, display and text size
options. Please see the links at the top of each web