There has been lots in the news in recent months about changes that the Government is making to benefits. The revised Benefit cap, the ongoing introduction of Universal Credit, and changes to maximum Housing Benefit levels have all been widely reported, to the point where many people are aware of these changes.
But among all of this, one very important change has been introduced almost unnoticed. It has long been the case that people who were for good reason (for example serious illness) unable to make a claim for Housing Benefit could ask to have their claim backdated for up to six months to cover the period that they were unable to claim. This provided a lifeline for people who were unable to make a claim due (for example) to being in hospital or suffering a major family crisis.
However, under new rules being introduced, this ability is being removed. From early April , the maximum period that someone can ask for a Housing Benefit claim to be backdated will reduce to 1 month. This is regardless of the reason for the delay in making a claim. If you have experienced a gap in your Housing Benefit payments in the last 6 Months, and feel that you may be entitled to a backdated payment, it is vital that you claim this immediately. Otherwise, the entitlement will be lost forever, and you will be responsible for paying any shortfall in your rent from your own funds.
We are happy to help you claim a backdated payment before the deadline if you feel that you may be entitled to one. If this is something that you would like to do, please contact our Financial Inclusion Adviser, Jason Herbert, on 0208 768 7925. If this is something you feel you would benefit from, it is vital that you act promptly, to allow sufficient time for a claim to be made before the change in the rules takes effect.