Housing Benefit and Council Tax  Reduction are normally paid from the Monday following the date you make your claim, however  you can request an award for a past period - this is called 'backdating'.

Backdating a claim

If you (and your partner) are under pensionable age the maximum period you can receive a backdate is ONE month from the date that of your request.

In order for a claim to be backdated we must be satisfied that

  • you have shown good cause for failing to claim earlier and
  • that good cause existed continuously during the period for which backdating is being requested

Although there is no legal definition of good cause, benefit case law has defined good cause as "...some fact which, having regard to all the circumstances (including the claimant's state of health and the information which he had received and that which he might have obtained) would probably have caused a reasonable person of his age and experience to act (or fail to act) as the claimant did."

Therefore 'good cause' would normally fall into the following categories:

  • the claimant was so ill (physically or mentally) or otherwise unable to act that they could not claim and could not ask for someone to claim for them;
  • the claimant was misadvised by someone they should have been able to rely on (such as the Council, DWP, or Citizens Advice Bureau);
  • there were good reasons for the claimant believing that they could not claim (amounting to more that just not thinking or not caring);
  • some external factor prevented the claimant from making a claim (eg. failure of the postal service, imprisonment, etc.).

If you or your partner are of pensionable age the maximum period we will be able to backdate your claim is three months. You will not need to demonstrate good cause for not claiming at an earlier date. 

What happens when a backdated claim is made?

Your claim will be considered by a Benefits Officer. Sometimes it may be necessary to write to you for more information or to ask you to come in for an informal interview.

You will be sent a letter telling you of our decision. 

If we have decided that we are unable to backdate your claim, the reasons for this will be explained in our letter.

You will then have the right of appeal against our decision not to backdate your claim. For further details on the appeal process, please see the section 'Disputes and Appeals'.  

How to apply for backdated benefit.

To apply for backdated Housing and Council Tax Reduction, please make your request in writing and include:

  • Your name and address
  • The period you would like your claim to be considered for a backdate
  • The reasons why you could not have made your claim earlier

Please send this to:

The Benefit Section 

St Albans District Council 
Civic Centre  
St Albans 
AL1 3JE

Or by email to: benefits@stalbans.gov.uk
Date of last review: 12 December 2016