Housing benefit and council tax support

How and when we pay your benefit

Council tax support 

If you are awarded council tax support, this will be automatically credited to your council tax account.

Housing benefit

If your landlord is a housing association then you will have the choice of having your housing benefit paid to yourself or your landlord. We pay by BACS, so you will need to provide your bank details if you would like us to pay you the housing benefit.

If your landlord is a private landlord, under the local housing allowance scheme we will normally make payment to you by BACS. You will need to provide your bank details so we can pay your benefit directly. If you feel you would not be able to cope with receiving the benefit payments then please read our information on safeguarding.

If payment is made to you, then you will be paid fortnightly in arrears.

If payment is made to your landlord, then they will be paid monthly in arrears.

When benefit payments start 

Benefit payments usually start from the Monday following the date we receive a recognised application form. Sometimes your claim can run from an earlier date if you can show that you had a good reason for failing to submit the form (for example, you were in hospital at the time). This is called backdating (see below).

Under housing benefit and council tax support law you must make your claim for benefit in writing, either on a benefit/support application form or by letter.

Normally we will start your claim from the Monday after we receive your application form or letter. It is therefore very important that you get your application form or letter to us as soon as possible because it affects the date your benefit claim will start from.

If you have contacted us for an application form you will have one month to return the form and evidence to us.


Please note there are some changes to backdating rules from 1 April 2016

If you are of 'pensionable age' we can go back three months from your date of claim. We should do this automatically but we may need to ask you for earlier income or savings details. 

If you are 'working age' - which means under 60 - or if you are male and aged 60 to 64 and not claiming state pension credits and there is a reason why you were unable to apply for your benefit earlier, you can ask for backdated benefits.

Claims can only be backdated if you can show 'good cause' for failing to claim at the correct time and throughout the backdated period. You need to tell us about what prevented you from claiming at the correct time.

We can only backdate a claim for a maximum of one month for Housing Benefit and six months for Council Tax Support from the date of your claim for backdated benefit. In order for a claim to be backdated we must be satisfied that:

  • you have shown good cause for failing to claim earlier and
  • that good cause existed continuously during the period for which backdating is being requested. 

We must be satisfied that your circumstances during this time were such that any reasonable person of your age and experience would also have failed to claim benefit. We must look at all the facts of your case.

If we do not backdate your claim and you do not agree with our decision you have the right to appeal your benefits decision.