Apply for housing benefit

Backdating claims

If you have applied for housing benefit to help with your rent and you are eligible, your benefits will normally start from the Monday after we receive your completed form.

We may be able to back date housing benefit to an earlier date, provided you can show there was good cause for your delay in making your claim, throughout the whole period you would like it to be backdated. Good cause is any reason or combination of circumstances that would have stopped you from making a claim earlier.

Examples of good cause are:

  • Death of a relative.
  • You, or a member of your household, were in hospital.
  • There were good reasons for you not believing you could claim, amounting to more than just not thinking or not caring.
  • Some external factor prevented you from making a claim, such as failure of the postal service or imprisonment.

We will usually need to see proof of the things you tell us about. For example, if you were in hospital, we would need to see a letter from the hospital or your doctor confirming your illness and the length of time you were in hospital.

How far can you backdate my claim?

By law, we can only backdate housing benefit for a person of working age for up to one month from the date we receive your request for backdating, providing you can demonstrate continuous good cause throughout the whole period. You must clearly state the period you would like us to consider backdating and the reasons that prevented you from making an earlier claim.

The council tax support scheme allows an application for a person of working age to be backdated for up to six calendar months, providing you can demonstrate continuous good cause throughout the whole period.

If you have reached the age for eligibility for state pension credit, we can only backdate three months. However, if you are a man aged between 60 and 64 who receives Income Support or Job Seekers Allowance (income based), or your partner is, you may be able to have your claim backdated six months. If you receive Pension Credit your claim can only be backdated three months.

How to claim back dated benefit

If you would like to request a back date of housing benefit, please write to or email our benefits section, giving the date that you would like your claim backdated to and describe all the circumstances that prevented you from claiming:

Revenues and Benefits, District Council House, Frog Lane, Lichfield, Staffordshire, WS13 6YX


How we assess claims

We consider each request on its own merits and the more information you can provide, the better. 

Any supporting evidence that you have should also be provided to support your request.

A benefits assessment officer will look at your request and then write to you with their decision.

We may ask for more evidence or information if it is needed prior to making a decision.


If you disagree with our decision regarding your back dated housing benefit claim, you can:

  • ask for an explanation
  • ask us to look at it again (a different officer would do this)
  • appeal against the decision. Any appeal would be heard by the Appeals Service.

For more information about the above please see disputes and appeals.

If you have any questions, please email our benefits team at or call our team on 01543 308900.