If you or your partner are of qualifying age for pension credit, you don't need to ask for your Housing Benefit to be backdated, it is automatically paid retrospectively for a maximum of three months prior to the date you make your claim, subject to meeting the income and capital criteria.
If you are of working age, you can request a claim be backdated for maximum of six months from the date we receive your request. We must be satisfied with the reasons you give for not claiming earlier, and satisfied that these reasons existed for the whole period for which backdating is requested. These reasons are known as 'good cause'. It's up to you to prove 'good cause', which means that any reasonable person of your age, experience or circumstances would also have failed to claim benefit.
Some examples of 'good cause' are if you:
- did not claim benefit while in hospital or within a reasonable time after leaving hospital
- were ill and had no-one to make a claim on your behalf
- did not understand that you could claim benefit - perhaps because of age, inexperience or language difficulties
- suffered a recent family bereavement
The more information and evidence you give in support of your claim the quicker a decision can be made. Sometimes we may need to write to you for more information or evidence, or ask you to come in to discuss your claim in more detail.
We'll write to let you know our decision. If we decide that we cannot backdate your claim, we'll explain the reasons in the letter. You have the right to appeal against a decision not to backdate your claim.