Northumberland County Council > Housing > Housing benefit > Housing benefit backdated clai

Housing benefit - backdated claims

If there has been a reason which prevented you from applying for Housing Benefit at an earlier date you can ask for your claim to be 'backdated' so that it starts from an earlier date.

Can you backdate my Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support?arrow


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 us).

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.
  • You were waiting for a decision about another benefit.
  • 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, perhaps because:

- of your age;
- you did not know how benefits work;
- you have language difficulties;
- 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 letters).

If you would like some help, please telephone 0845 600 6400 or visit our Information Centres.  


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.  


Contact DetailsIRRV

Benefit Section
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
NE63 9XL

Tel No 0845 6006400


The council now offers nine local area code telephone numbers for customers to use when calling the central contact centre.  For more details about the numbers, along with frequently asked questions, please click here.

Fax No 01670 620098



Useful websites:


Language Services

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 page.