Information about backdating Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and Council Tax Reduction.

I have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, when will my claim start?

If you, or your partner (if applicable), have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit and qualify for Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction, we can backdate your benefit/reduction up to 3 months before the date you made your claim (as long as you were entitled to benefit/reduction for that period). If you have reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit and you are entitled to benefit/reduction from a date before you claimed, we will give you your benefit/reduction automatically. We do not need to know why you did not claim sooner to backdate your benefit/reduction.

For us to work out how much benefit/reduction you will be entitled to, you will need to provide documentary evidence of your income, savings and rent (if applicable) for the period you want to claim.

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I have not yet reached the qualifying age for State Pension Credit, when will my claim start?

If you qualify for Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance, we will normally pay your benefit from 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).

If you qualify for Council Tax Reduction we will normally pay your reduction from the date you asked for an application form (as long as you return the application form within one month of contacting us).

When you make a claim for Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction over the phone through Jobcentre Plus, we will treat the date of your claim as the same date you contacted Jobcentre Plus.

If you are awarded Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance all the benefits will have the same claim date.

Sometimes we can pay benefit/reduction for a period before the date you claimed. This is called backdating. The maximum we can backdate your claim is: 

  • 1 month for Housing Benefit or Local Housing Allowance
  • 3 months for Council Tax Reduction

from the date you make your backdating request, providing you can show that:

  • You had 'good cause' for not making your claim earlier
  • You could not claim throughout the period you want your claim backdated

A request for backdating must be made in writing.

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What is considered to be 'good cause'?

'Good cause' is a reason that prevented you from claiming benefit/reduction earlier. Each request for backdating is looked at individually. You must therefore provide all the relevant information to support your request.

Not knowing about Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction or thinking that you would not be entitled cannot be accepted as 'good cause' as claimants are expected to take steps to find out what their rights are.

'Good cause' may include the following, depending on the circumstances:

  • You were ill and no-one else could claim for you
  • You were given the wrong advice by an official organisation who said you were not entitled to Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction
  • You did not know of a recent change in the law
  • 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.

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How do I claim backdated benefit/reduction?

If you think you have 'good cause' for making a late claim, you should tell us in writing straight away.

Please provide:

  • The date you want to be considered for Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance and/or Council Tax Reduction from
  • The reason(s) that prevented you from claiming earlier
  • Documentary evidence of your income, savings and rent payments (if applicable) for the period you want to backdate your benefit/reduction
  • Any documentary evidence to support your reason(s) - for example, medical certificates or hospital letters.

If you would like further information please contact us. You can also get help from an advice agency, such as a Citizens Advice Bureau.

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What happens next?

We will decide if we can backdate your benefit/reduction 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/reduction, we will tell you why.

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What if I disagree with your decision?

We may decide that your reasons are not good enough for us to backdate your benefit/reduction.

FOR HOUSING BENEFIT OR LOCAL HOUSING ALLOWANCE:

If you want to know more about the decision or if you think it is wrong, you should get in touch with us within one month from the date of the notification letter or we may not be able to consider any dispute.

You can either ask for an explanation or:

  • ask, in writing, for a written 'Statement of Reason'
  • ask us to look again at the decision – 'Dispute the Decision'. This must be done in writing. If the decision can be changed we will send you a new decision. If we cannot change the decision we will tell you why. If you still disagree you have one month to appeal from the date of the new decision.
  • Appeal' against the decision – this can only be done in writing. If you appeal against the decision your appeal will be referred to an Independent Tribunal administered by The Tribunal Service.

FOR COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION

If you require more details on any matter set out in the notice or the reasons for the decision you can within one month of the date of the letter request in writing a 'Written Statement of Reasons'.

If you are aggrieved by the decision you can within one month of the date of this letter serve a 'written notice' on the Council clearly stating the matter(s) by which, and the grounds on which, you are aggrieved. We will consider the matter(s) to which your notice relates and will notify you in writing of our decision with reasons. If following this letter you are still aggrieved you then have 2 months to appeal directly to the Valuation Tribunal for Wales (VTW).

Please note that you may also appeal directly to the VTW if we have failed to notify you of our decision within 2 months of you serving a 'written notice' on the Council.

Please see Appeals for more information.

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