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Making a late claim

Introduction

To get a social welfare payment, you must make a claim for that payment to the Department of Social Protection. You normally make a claim by completing an application or claim form. There are generally time limits within which you must make your claim.

The time limits for making a claim vary from one payment to another. The time limits are generally quite short for short-term payments and are longer for long-term pensions. For example, in the case of Jobseeker's Benefit you must claim on the day that you become eligible and in the case of State Pension (Contributory) you can claim up to 3 months before and 3 months after you reach the age of 66.

You should claim a payment as soon as you think you might be entitled to it. If you make a late claim you may get a payment from the date you sent your claim to the department but you may not get your payment back-dated to the time you were entitled to it but did not claim.

Rules

Extending the time limits

In most cases the time limit for making a claim may be extended. This means you can get your payment back-dated to the time that you became entitled to it or for least six months before you made your claim, whichever is the lower.

To get the time limit extended you must have a good reason for not making your claim within the time limit. There is little information about what is a good reason but if you were sick or in hospital this might well be considered as a good reason for not making your claim on time. Generally, the fact that you did not know that you were entitled to a payment is not considered to be a good reason for not making your claim on time.

The following social welfare schemes can be backdated if you have a good reason for your late claim:

Disability Allowance
Jobseeker's Allowance
Carer's Allowance Death Benefit under the Occupational Injuries Scheme
Illness Benefit Jobseeker's Benefit
Carer's Benefit
Bereavement Grant
Blind Pension
Widow's, Widower's or Surviving Civil Partner's (Non-Contributory) Pension
Farm Assist Widowed or Surviving Civil Partner Grant
Disablement Benefit
Health and Safety Benefit Maternity Benefit
Constant Attendance Allowance

One-Parent Family Payment
Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory)
Occupational Injury Benefit
Child Benefit State Pension (Non-Contributory)
Incapacity Supplement Adoptive Benefit
Pre-Retirement Allowance

Invalidity Pension is backdated up to 6 months or to the date of your claim, whichever is the lower, without having to show a good reason for the delay in making your claim.

From April 2012, backdating is limited to 6 months for State Pension (Contributory and Transition), Widow’s, Widower’s, or Surviving Civil Partner’s (Contributory) Pension and Guardian’s Payment (Contributory).

Further backdating will be allowed only if:

  • The failure to claim resulted from incorrect information being supplied by the Department of Social Protection or
  • The delay was due to your incapacity

If you make a late claim for Child Benefit and can prove that you had a good reason for making a late claim, your Child Benefit can be backdated to the time you became entitled to the payment regardless of when you became entitled to the payment.

All social welfare statutory schemes except Jobseeker's Allowance, Jobseeker's Benefit, Farm Assist and Supplementary Welfare Allowance can be backdated if you can prove any one of the following:

  • Information given by the Department of Social Protection was the cause of your late claim.
  • Events or actions which by their nature were so intense as to make it impossible to make a claim, this is called force majeure.
  • Backdating the payment is necessary to prevent or relieve financial hardship.

You can find more information about when the Department will backdate a late claim.

Decisions about entitlement to social welfare payments are made by officers, appointed by the Minister, called deciding officers.

How to apply

At the time of your claim you must state why your claim is late. For some payments the application form allows you to explain why the payment is late, for example, Illness Benefit.

For other payments you should send an accompanying letter and supporting evidence with your claim form. You can get assistance with this from your Social Welfare Local Office or your local Citizens Information Centre.

Where to apply

You should send your claim form with details about why your claim is late to the section in the Department of Social Protection responsible for that payment. The address will be on the bottom of your claim form.

Page updated: 13 April 2012

Language

Gaeilge

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Contact Us

If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.