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The current processing time for new applications and changes to benefit claims is an average of 6 weeks. If you contact us with a general enquiry online we will reply to you within two working days.

A claim will usually start from the Monday after we receive the application form, so it is important that you submit your application as soon as possible.

Sometimes we may pay Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support from an earlier date, this is called backdating.

Backdating

Housing Benefit

For working age claims the maximum time which a claim can be considered for backdating is one month.

If you or your partner are pension age then your claim can be backdated for up to three months.

Council Tax Support

We can consider backdating all claims for up to six months.

There are two ways to ask us to backdate a claim:

  • If you are making your claim you should fill in the backdating section on the claim form
  • If you are already claiming you should write to us or use our online contact form and tell us why you didn’t claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Support sooner

Contact us

We can only backdate your claim if you can prove that there is ‘good cause’ why you were unable to apply sooner.

You will be expected to show that you had good reasons (‘good cause’) throughout the whole time you didn’t for not claiming sooner.

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

Some examples of ‘good cause’:

  • You were so ill that you could not make a claim or ask someone else to claim on your behalf
  • You were given bad or wrong advice by someone who should have given you correct information, such as the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), the council or an advice agency
  • You did not understand that you could claim, perhaps because of age, inexperience or language difficulties
  • You had a family bereavement
  • There was something over which you had no control that prevented you from making a claim

You must explain your reasons fully and give us evidence to support what you tell us. You can submit your evidence to us electronically.