Backdate your benefits claim

Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Reduction is normally awarded from the Monday after the day you made your claim. However, sometimes we can pay from an earlier date. There are separate rules for pensioners and for people of working age.

You can calculate your pension age on the GOV.UK website.

Rules for pensioner claims

If you are of pension age, your claim is automatically backdated 3 months, as long as you were of pension age throughout the 3 months, or back to the date you reached pension age if this was within 3 months.

We just need the information necessary to assess your entitlement and you do not have to show any reasons for not claiming earlier.

Rules for people of working age

If you are of working age, the maximum period a claim can be backdated to is 1 month from the time we receive the application. 

You must also have a 'good reason' (or good cause) for not claiming sooner.

There is no particular definition of 'good reason', but some examples are:

  • The death of a close relative;
  • Being in hospital or seriously ill;
  • Being wrongly advised by a person who should have known better, such as council staff, the Citizens Advice Bureau, a social worker or DWP staff;
  • Language difficulties;
  • Being unable to manage your affairs and not having anyone to help you at the time.

As we will usually need some evidence, please provide as much information as you can to help us make our decision.

The good reason must apply over the full period for which you want your award backdated.

Claim backdated benefit

You can claim backdated benefit at the same time as your Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction claim by completing the relevant section on our online claim form (link).

We also have a separate form below that can be completed and returned to benefits@oxford.gov.uk:

Backdated Housing Benefit/Council Tax Reduction Claim Form (PDF)

What happens next

After we have received your claim form or your request for backdated benefit, if made later, we will look at the reasons you have given for failing to make your claim at an earlier date. We may need to contact you to ask for some more information or to try to establish more details.

Once a decision has been made, we will notify you of the outcome and if your request has been successful, money will be issued to you as soon as possible.

If your request for backdated benefit is not agreed, we will notify you as soon as possible. The letter we will send you will explain what to do if you think that the decision we have made is wrong.