Payments and back payments

See below for information about how we will pay your housing benefit and council tax reduction and also how you can backdate your claim for benefit.


Council tax reduction

If you are awarded council tax benefit then we will pay this straight to your council tax account, reducing the amount of council tax you have to pay.

Council tenants

If you are a council tenant, we will pay housing benefit every week straight into your rent account.

Housing association (social landlords)

If you are a housing-association tenant, we can either pay you or your landlord, depending on your wishes. When you fill out your application form please let us know who we should pay.

Private tenants under local housing allowance

If you rent from a private landlord, under local housing allowance we will almost always pay housing benefit direct to you into your bank or building-society account.

In exceptional cases we may consider paying housing benefit to your landlord. But this will only happen if we believe that paying you direct will cause you serious problems, or if we believe it is in your best interest to pay your landlord.

We will also pay your landlord if you are in more than 8 weeks arrears with your rent. If you would like further information please contact us using the details on the right.

Payment frequency

  • payments to customers are made every two weeks in arrears
  • payments to landlords are made every four weeks in arrears

How will you be paid

Housing benefit is usually paid directly into a customer’s bank account by direct credit. Unfortunately we can’t pay into post office card accounts.

When you claim you will need to provide your account details on your claim form.

If you do not have a bank account we would recommend that you open one. We would pay by cheque while you open your account.

Most banks now offer basic bank accounts. These allow you to set up direct debits and withdraw cash from machines, but do not provide cheque books or overdrafts. If you don’t have an account, and need more help, pop into a bank of your choice and ask about a basic bank account.

Back payments (backdating)

If you get housing benefit or council tax reduction but would have made a claim for benefit sooner if you could have, you can ask us to backdate your claim for benefit. This means that we could treat your claim as if you had sent us your claim form on an earlier date.

If you believe we should backdate your claim, you must write to us to tell us your reasons for not claiming benefit sooner.

We can usually award benefit from the Monday after the day we receive your claim. Sometimes we can pay benefit from an earlier date if you have a good reason for not claiming earlier. This reason must have lasted throughout the whole period that you want us to backdate your claim for benefit.

Housing benefit can be backdated for a maximum of a month if you are of working age. Council tax reduction can be backdated for up to 6 months if you are working age. If you want us to consider paying your benefit from an earlier date, tell us the dates you want benefit from and why you did not claim earlier. People of pension age will have their claim backdated for 3 months provided that they or their partner are of pensionable age for the whole of the three month period, and they can provide proof of their income and capital for this period.

Page updated on: 5 June 2019

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