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Housing Benefit: Backdated claims

Last updated 27 January 2016

When we will backdate housing benefit

Sometimes we can pay benefit from an earlier date if there is a continuous good cause why you didn’t claim from that date.

Your benefit will usually start:

  • From the Monday after we receive your form, or;
  • From the Monday after you first contacted us asking to claim, if you submit your completed form to us within a month of contacting us

You can ask to backdate your benefit when you fill out your benefit claim form. If you’re already receiving payment for a benefit, you’ll need to make a separate request in writing.

If you think you might be entitled to benefit, make a claim as soon as possible so you don't lose out.

How far back can housing benefit be backdated?

  • The maximum length of time we can backdate your claim is 26 weeks if you are under the qualifying age for state pension credit.
  • If you have reached the qualifying age for state pension credit we can go back up to a maximum of 13 weeks.

The qualifying age for State Pension Credit is increasing from 60 to 66 in line with the increase in the state retirement pension age for women.

Check your qualifying age for State Pension Credit on GOV.UK

If you‘ve reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit (Pension age)

You don’t need to tell us why you didn't claim sooner. We can backdate your claim for up to 13 weeks if you ask us to, as long as you give us the following information:

  • the date you want us to start your benefit from;
  • details and evidence of the money you received and the capital held during the time between the date you want your benefit to start and now; and
  • details of who was in your household at that time

If you are under the qualifying age for state pension credit (working age)

You must tell us why you didn’t claim sooner and show continuous good cause throughout the period in which you are asking for your claim to be backdated. Each case is considered on its merit. ‘Good cause’ for one claimant may not be considered ‘good cause’ for another.

We can backdate your claim for up to 26 weeks if you have continuous good cause and give us the following information:

  • the date you want us to start your benefit from;
  • details and evidence of the money you received and the capital held during the time between the date you want your benefit to start and now; and
  • details of who was in your household at that time

When deciding whether you have “good cause” we will consider how the following affected your claim:

  • your physical and mental health condition
  • household emergencies (such as bereavement)
  • language needs
  • the support available to you
  • any incorrect advice you may have received

Ignorance of the benefit system is not good cause.

This ‘good cause’ must exist from the date you want to claim from up to the date the claim for backdating was actually made.

If there is a period where ‘good cause’ can’t be shown, your claim can’t be backdated before that period.

Contact details

Revenues and Benefits Service
London Borough of Waltham Forest
PO Box 856
London
E17 9PN
Phone: 020 8496 3000
Email: revenue.services@walthamforest.gov.uk

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

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