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When will your benefit start from?

Your entitlement to Housing Benefit usually starts from the Monday after we receive your claim or you contact us to make a claim. This is why it is important to apply as soon as possible.

Pension age customers

If you, and any partner have both reached state pension age and qualify for housing benefit and/or council tax support we will start your claim from the date 3 months before you first contacted us to make your claim providing:

  • we receive your claim within one calendar month of you contacting us and
  • you are actually entitled to benefit for those 3 months (if you are only entitled for part of the 3 month period we can only pay you for the period you are entitled)

If you are part of a couple, and only one of you is of Pension Age, you must claim Universal Credit instead

We will pay you this benefit automatically. You do not have to request it. We cannot go back further than 3 months if you are a pensioner.

Backdating housing benefit claims for working age customers

If you think your Housing Benefit should start from an earlier date, you can say so either on the claim form or by writing to the Benefits Team.

This is called a request for backdating.

You should tell us:

  • The date you think your benefit should start
  • The reason why you did not claim earlier

You have to have good reason in order to get a backdated award.

Your Housing Benefit can only be backdated for a maximum of 1 month from the date we receive your application form, but only if you have a good reason for not claiming earlier.

Each case will be considered on its own merits and by taking into account the following:

  • claimant's life experience, age, and their circumstances
  • claimant's health
  • claimant's control over provision of information required to support claim, eg delay by employer, Jobcentre Plus, GP, etc
  • household or other factors that affect the claimant's ability to claim
  • claimant's nationality and length of residence in Great Britain
  • misleading information from any source, eg charities, Citizens Advice Bureau, local authority, Government, etc

This list is not exhaustive and we will take account of all the reasons given when making our decision.

You will need to provide evidence of your circumstances, including your income, for the period of backdating.

You can make your request and supply all evidence by completing our evidence upload form Evidence Upload Form or emailing us at or by writing to us at the address below:

The Benefits Team
Revenues Unit
Civic Centre
Howden South Road
West Lothian
EH54 6FF