Backdating housing benefit pensioners

If we send you an application form we will allow you one calendar month to complete and return it.If you take longer than one calendar month to return the form you might lose your entitlement to some of your benefits.They recommended that: “if the Government still wishes to make an early reduction in the backdating period, a three month period would strike a better balance between the aim of security an expenditure saving and recognition of the substantial differences between Housing Benefit legacy and Universal Credit positions.” The Government has rejected that advice, so from April 2016, Housing Benefit claims will only be backdated for a maximum of one month, regardless of reason.Although they have stated that by the time the change comes in the “.However, this is not true for most people living in homeless hostels and supported housing who will continue to get their rent paid via Housing Benefit.The Government is going ahead with this change so it is vital that service providers look to the opportunities which Discretionary Housing Payments may offer to plug any arrears that could arise through delayed Housing Benefit claims.The move to cut backdating of pension credit to three months will save the Treasury an estimated £100 million in 20 as well as well as savings of £35 million in 2009 and £70 million in 2010 because of the reductions in housing benefit and council tax benefit.

Age Concern advisers are there to help them through the claiming process.' The amount of money that is not being claimed rose from £1.3billion in 1997/98 to a high of £3.6 billion in 2006/07.

An estimated 5 million pensioners are eligible for pension credit, a means tested benefit which tops up those on low incomes to £124.05 a week for single pensioners or £189.35 a week for couples, but because of the complex application procedures many do not claim.

Age Concern says that some six out of 10 pensioners are not claiming because of the complexity of making an application and the necessity to answer intrusive questions aimed at means-testing pensioners.

You can only ask for a backdate of housing benefit and council tax support if there is a reason why you were unable to apply for your benefit and support earlier.

If you disagree with the date your claim starts from for any other reason you can appeal against the decision.

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In order for a backdate of housing benefit or council tax support to be allowed you will have to show 'good cause' why you did not apply earlier.

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