Starting and stopping your benefit claim

When will your benefit start?

Your benefit will normally start the Monday after the date you tell us you're making a claim, as long as we or the Department for Work and Pensions receive your claim form within one month of that date.

If you move in and claim within the first week you start paying rent, your claim could start from the day you move in.

For people of pension age there are special rules. It may be possible to backdate a claim for three months if you were previously eligible for Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit. This is automatic and you don't have to give reasons for not claiming earlier.

Backdating payments

For people under pension age, if you want your benefit to start from an earlier date, you must have very good reasons.

There are limited cases where we can backdate your benefit but we'll consider all your details when you ask for backdating.  You must write to us to claim backdated benefit giving your reasons. The maximum period we can backdate your claim is one month from the date you make your written backdate request. 

Some examples when we might allow this are if you:

  • were too ill or in hospital and no one could have acted for you;
  • have difficulty with speaking English and did not understand that you had to fill out a claim form, or
  • were wrongly advised that you were not entitled to benefit.

Some examples where we cannot allow this are if you:

  • forgot to claim or simply lost the form;
  • failed to make reasonable enquiries about your entitlement, or
  • are asking about a period over a month ago.

When will your benefit stop?

If your circumstances change to reduce your entitlement to nil, you'll have to make a new claim if you want to get benefit again.

If you don't respond to a letter asking you to contact us we may suspend your benefit and stop paying you. We'll only cancel your claim completely after we've given you a month to respond to our letter telling you we have stopped your benefit payments. If we have to cancel your benefit because you fail to respond then you'll need to make a new claim and you may lose benefit.

Extended payments

If you're no longer entitled to Income Support, Jobseeker's Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance or Severe Disablement Allowance because you or your partner have started work or increased your hours you may be entitled to Extended Payments.

If you or your partner have been receiving one of the above benefits/allowances for a continuous period of 26 weeks or more you're eligible to apply for Extended Payments if:

  • your new job or increase in hours is expected to last for at least five weeks, and
  • you must be liable for rent and/or Council Tax immediately before your Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance ended and for the whole of the Extended Payment period.

Extended Payments are set at the same amount as the Housing/Council Tax Benefit you were paid at the time Income Support, income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit or Severe Disablement Allowance ended. They're payable for up to four weeks from the Monday after the date your claim for Housing/Council Tax Benefit ended.

To claim Extended Payments you must tell the Department for Work and Pensions or us that you or your partner have started work or have increased your hours.

This must be done within four weeks.

Claim reviews

We'll regularly review your claim to make sure we're still paying you the correct amount.  We review most claims by asking you to complete and return a review form.

If you don't respond, we may suspend your benefit and give you a further chance to respond. If you still don't respond we may then stop your benefit. You would then need to make a new claim should you want to continue to claim benefit.