Making a late claim

Time limit to apply for a social welfare payment

To get a social welfare payment, you must apply to the Department of Social Protection (DSP) for that payment. In general, you must complete an application form (claim form) within a certain time limit.

The time limit to apply varies, depending on which payment you’re applying for. In general, the time limits are quite short for short-term payments and are longer for long-term pensions.

The DSP considers the day it get your application as the day you applied.

Examples of time limits to apply for a payment

In the case of Jobseeker’s Benefit, you must apply on the day you become eligible.

But in the case of Illness Benefit, you can apply within 6 weeks of becoming ill.

When to apply for a payment

You should apply for a payment as soon as you think you might be entitled to it. See a table showing the timeframe to apply for various payments on

If you apply late, you may get a payment from the date you sent your application to the DSP.

You may not get your payment backdated to the time you were entitled to it but did not apply.

What if I’m late to apply for a payment?

If you are late to apply for a payment, you may get it backdated. Depending on the payment you are applying for and the reason for your late claim, you may get your payment backdated to:

  • The time you became entitled to it, or
  • At least 6 months before you applied.

Automatic backdating of payments

The following payments can be backdated by up to 6 or 12 months, without you needing a reason for applying late:

The Household Benefits Package can be backdated in some cases.

Further backdating beyond the set time will be allowed only if:

  • The reason you didn’t apply resulted from incorrect information being supplied by the Department of Social Protection, or
  • The delay was due to your incapacity.

Backdating your claim with good reason

If your payment is not automatically backdated, you must give the DSP a 'good reason' why you didn't apply within the normal time limit. There is little information about what is a good reason, but if you were sick or in hospital this might 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 applying late:

How to make a late application

When applying for your social welfare payment, you must state why your application is late. For some payments, the application form lets you explain why the application is late (for example, Illness Benefit).

For other payments, you should send an accompanying letter and supporting evidence with your claim form.

Where to send your application form

You should send your claim form (application form), with details about why your application 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.

You can also find information about how to apply for specific payments on For example, for information on how to apply for ‘Illness Benefit’, search for ‘Illness Benefit’ on our homepage.

How to appeal a decision

If you apply late for a social welfare payment and you are unhappy with the decision, you can appeal to the Social Welfare Appeals Office (SWAO).

Read more in our page, How to appeal a social welfare decision.

More information about late social welfare applications

If you need help applying for a payment, you can contact your local:

You can also read about late applications for social welfare payments on

Page edited: 16 April 2024