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Benefits - Application for Backdating Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit

Generally, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit cannot be paid for any period prior to a claim being received by the Benefits Section. However, if there are special circumstances, the Benefits Section can consider backdating your claim.

If you want the Benefits Section to consider backdating your claim you must complete the section at the end of this form stating why you were unable to claim any earlier. You must prove that there was ‘good cause’ for not making an earlier claim. This ‘good cause’ must be present for the whole of the period that you want backdated.

The maximum time that the Benefits Section can backdate a claim is 52 weeks from the date that the application for backdating is actually made.

Some examples of ‘good cause’ are shown below:

- If you have delayed claiming Housing or Council Tax Benefit because you have been waiting for a decision about another benefit

- If you did not immediately claim (or reclaim) Housing or Council Tax Benefit after leaving hospital

- If you were ill and could not make a claim and could not ask anyone to make the claim on your behalf

- If you could not reasonably have been expected to know your rights. For example where there have been detailed changes in the law

- If you did not understand that you could claim, perhaps because of age, inexperience, language difficulties or difficulty in understanding technical documents

- If you were wrongly advised by an official body that you were not entitled to Housing or Council Tax Benefit

- If you were unable to mange your affairs and did not have an appointee

Example:
Mrs Smith makes a claim for benefit on 18th June 2004. She states that she was ill for the period 2nd April 2003 to 2nd April 2004 and would like her benefit to be backdated for that period. She has proof from her doctor of her illness and therefore the Benefits Section decides that ‘good cause’ has been proven for this period.

Although the period of sickness started in April 2003 the Benefits Section can only award the backdated benefit from 18th June 2003 which is 52 weeks before the date that the application is made (i.e. 18th June 2004). The backdated award will be paid up to 2nd April 2004 when Mrs Smith recovered from her illness.

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