Can I backdate my benefit start date? Benefit normally starts from the Monday following the day we receive your claim form. However, in certain circumstances, it can be backdated. We can only accept a late claim if you can prove you have what we call “continuous good cause”. This means that you must prove to the Council that you have a good reason for not writing to us earlier and the reason lasted throughout the time for which you now want to claim benefit. What is good cause? The general test for "good cause" is that any reasonable person of your age, health and experience would probably have failed to claim in the same way as you did. For example, you were too ill to contact us or to ask someone, who would have been willing to help, to contact us for you. Ignorance of your rights cannot normally be regarded as good cause. This is largely because it is considered your duty to find out what you may be entitled to and make a claim for benefit. However, the Benefit rules leave it open for you to put forward your reasons for a late claim. Evidence will need to be supplied with the claim in order to support it. For example, if a person has confirmed they were ill during the period and could not contact our office, a letter from their doctor or hospital could form part of the evidence. Maximum period for which a claim can be backdated For working age customers: Housing Benefit: the benefit rules state that housing benefit cannot be backdated for more than one calendar month, from the date we received your written request for backdating, even if you had a good reason for not claiming earlier. Council Tax Reduction: The maximum period Council Tax Reduction can be backdated is 6 months from the date we received your written request for backdating, even if you had a good reason for not claiming earlier. Pension age customers For customers who are of Pension Age there is no need to apply to have their claim backdated and there is no requirement to show good cause. Pension Age claim can automatically be backdated for a maximum of up to 3 months. How to Apply for Backdated Benefit If you think you have a good reason for making a late claim, you can apply when completing your on-line claim form or please write to the Housing Benefits Service as soon as possible. You must state clearly that you wish to apply for your benefit to be backdated, how far back you wish us to consider backdating your claim and your reason for not claiming earlier. Any backdated benefit is calculated on your circumstances and the Benefit rules, which applied over the backdating period. If your circumstances changed over that period, you may be asked to fill in another benefit claim form.