Backdating Universal Credit

Requests for backdating can be made up to 13 months after the end of the the claimant’s first Monthly Assessment Period

UC claims may be backdated up to a maximum of one month. Backdating is only allowed in certain prescribed circumstances, not just for any general ‘good cause’ reasons – these are outlined in the Universal Credit Regulations.

Until recently the DWP were of the opinion that any backdating request could only be considered if the request was submitted before a decision had been made at the end of the claimant’s first Assessment Period. After that, DWP would say that it was too late to amend the claim with a different requested start date. 

But their interpretation of the Regulations has been successfully challenged in the Upper Tribunal and the DWP have changed their guidance.

Current guidance

Given in ADM memo 03-23, the current guidance for all decisions made after 1.9.22 on new UC claims is to the effect that if either: 

(a) a claimant asks for backdating; or 

(b) the claimant doesn’t ask for backdating, but:

i. the claimant says something that suggests that there may have been a delay in claiming; or

ii. there is evidence of debts or unmet needs that suggests that there may have been a delay in claiming; or

iii. there is evidence that suggests that one or more of the circumstances in which the time for claiming can be extended

… then the decision-maker should consider backdating as part of their initial decision on the claim. 

The guidance also states that after the claim is decided, the date of claim is an aspect of the decision that can be challenged by Mandatory Reconsideration or appeal.


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