Making a late claim

Time limit for claiming a socialwelfare payment

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.

Extending the time limit

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 6 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 Parent's Benefit
Constant Attendance Allowance
One-Parent Family Payment
Guardian's Payment (Non-Contributory) Paternity Benefit
Occupational Injury Benefit Child Benefit State Pension (Non-Contributory) One-Parent Family Payment
Incapacity Supplement Adoptive Benefit Child Benefit Domiciliary Care 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.

Backdating is limited to 6 months for State Pension (Contributory), 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

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

The Household Benefits Package can be backdated in some instances.

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 Intreo Centre or local Social Welfare Branch Office or 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 edited: 22 February 2022