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Backdating claims for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction

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Sometimes we can pay Housing Benefit (HB) or Council Tax Reduction (CTR) for a period before the date you claimed. This is called backdating.

Housing Benefit

For working age people, from 1 April 2016 the Government has reduced the backdate period from 6 months to 1 month.

For older people the maximum period is still 3 months.

Council Tax Reduction

For working age people the backdate period will continue to be 6 months.

For older people the backdate period will continue to be 3 months.

How to make a backdating claim request

To request backdating either:

  • When you first apply, fill in the backdating section (Part 19) on the HB/CTR claim form or
  • If you are already claiming, write us a letter or email telling us why you did not apply for your HB or CTR at an earlier date.

We can backdate HB and CTR if you can prove that there is good cause or reason(s) why you were unable to apply for your benefit earlier.

What is considered to be 'good cause'

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.

Some examples of 'good cause' are:

  • You were ill and had no-one to make a claim on your behalf.
  • You did not understand that you could claim benefit perhaps because of age, inexperience or language difficulties.
  • You have suffered a recent family bereavement.

If you forgot to claim or did not know you could claim this would not be a good reason on its own.

What happens when the backdated claim is made

Your claim will be considered by a benefits officer. The more information and evidence you give in support of your claim the quicker a decision can be made. We will confirm this in writing. Any backdated award of HB will be paid on your next payment date. Any backdated award of CTR will be paid into your Council Tax account.

If we have decided that you have not shown 'good cause' and we cannot backdate your claim, the reasons for this will be explained in our letter.

What to do if you do not agree with the decision

If we decide not to backdate your claim and you do not agree with this decision you must contact us within one month of the decision letter.

You can request that we reconsider our decision by letter or email.

If you are still not satisfied with our response, you can appeal again in writing or by email. We will refer this to the Tribunals Service, who will then decide on your appeal at a tribunal hearing.

Contact us

Online: Make an enquiry
Telephone: 020 8891 1411


London Borough of Richmond Upon Thames
Benefits Service
PO Box 72385
SW18 9PG

To drop off any documents requested please come to the Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ from 10am to 4pm, Monday to Friday.

Updated: 14 September 2020

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