What is backdating?

You may be able to get benefit for a period before you made your claim if you can give us good reasons why you couldn't make your claim earlier.

If you're working age

Most working age people now need to claim Universal Credit to get help with their rent, although there are some exceptions, such as people in supported accommodation.  But if you are making a new claim for Housing Benefit, we normally only allow it from the date you contact us.

We normally only allow Council Tax Support from the date you contact us, as the Jobcentre no longer takes claims for help with Council Tax on our behalf. So you must contact us directly even if you're making a claim for other benefits.

We can backdate a claim for Housing Benefit for a maximum of one month, and Council Tax Support for a maximum of six months. 

Reasons for backdating can include:- 

  • You were in hospital or too ill to claim at the time, and there was no one else who could help you
  • You were going through a period of bereavement
  • You didn't know about a change in the law that meant that you might qualify
  • You were given the wrong advice about claiming from a reliable source (such as an advice centre or solicitor)
  • You didn't understand that you could claim - perhaps because of age, inexperience or language difficulties.

If you didn't claim because you didn't know you were entitled, or thought you were entitled but didn't think you needed to make a claim, this won't in itself be a good reason.

There may be other good reasons why you claimed late. We'll look at your individual circumstances and decide if the delay was reasonable.

You must be able to show that the reasons why you delayed claiming applied throughout the whole period.

If you need your claim backdated, please complete the backdating section of the claim form or write to us.

If you're pension age

If you're pension age, your claim for both Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support will be looked at automatically for the three months before the date of your claim. You don't need to request backdating or give reasons for not claiming sooner.

Mixed age couples

The rules for couples who need to claim help with their rent have changed.

If one of you has reached State Pension age and the other has not, then you’re a ‘mixed age couple’.

Read more about mixed age couples

If you need any help or further information, please contact our Benefits Team.

Last updated: Tue 26 March, 2024 @ 15:16