backdating dilema

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    Hi I am a Welfare Benefits officer for a local authority and i have a case where a tenant (council) has rent arrears of just under £500 and needs to be moved desperately for her own safety as has recently been sexually assaulted and has serious learning difficulties. she can only be moved if her rent acc is cleared as prospective housing assosciations will not accept her whilst these are outstanding. My job is to try and clear these arrears by sorting her benefits out. What i need advice on is the flexibility of the backdating rules, i.e a person of working age, you can go back 6 months. can you go back further? This person has several breaks in her claim due to failure to sign on and failing to provide proof of income during this period. I know i need to try and get from her proof of nil income by way of bank statements and a declaration but i don’t know how long this will take to obtain due to the terrible circumstances she has been in recently. Although i used to be a benefits officer i’m not up to speed on the backdating rules as much as i’d like so i thought i’d ask you guys for any advice you can give so i can try to resolve this situation as quickly as possible for the welfare of this tenant. Thanks in advance


    The six month good cause backdating period cannot be extended at all, but as this does not sound like her first claim there mioght be a possibioity of revising one or more earlier decisions to end previous awards.

    For example, if, say, nine months ago the claimant’s IS ended and the Council’s Benefits section ended HB because they couldn’t establish what the claimant was up to, they can still entertain an application for revision of that decision (which you can make on the claimant’s behalf) – if it is clear that she has not had any money during these periods the Benefits section will, I am sure, look very sympathetically at any application to revise. This can be done up to 13 months after the decision was made.

    In addition, there is a loophole in the rules governing time limit for bringing an appeal to the Tribunal. A statement of reasons can be requested at any time, and this has the effect of refreshing the right to appeal for another 14 days. If the claimant then does appeal (and she must personally sign the appeal) the way is opened for the Council to revise its decision locally without the need for a hearing.

    In summary, if the claimant’s circumstances are fully explained to the HB section and if they are satisfied that there is a technical “opening” that will allow them to revisit any decisions they have already made, I am sure they will be more than happy to do that.


    that is brilliant, especially the loophole regarding appeals. i’ll be using that one in future! I think i will definately be going down the reconsideration route also. thanks a lot 😀

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