Skip navigation

Social Security Case Law - Summer 2024

Summaries of recent cases on social security law and practice.

SSWP v Miah [2024] EWCA Civ 186

You can read the full judgment ‘here‘.


There is no requirement that a Universal Credit claimant has to request backdating on their initial application form or before a claim for Universal Credit is determined – their claim can be revised at a later date.


The claimant (AM) completed an application for Universal Credit after his parents’ award of Child Tax Credits ceased. The electronic claim form did not ask when he wanted any award to be considered from and whether he wished the award to be backdated. There was also no place on the claim form to address this particular question.

The claimant was successful in his application for Universal Credit; however, the decisionmaker did not account for any form of backdating allowed under the Regulations that would have permitted AM’s Universal Credit award to commence a month earlier.

They argued in earlier appeals that in order for backdating to be considered, it must be stated on the initial claim form or at least amended before the claim is decided. It went on to state that any request that was made later would be considered a new claim for the benefit and could only be backdated to the date of the new request.

The First-Tier Tribunal agreed with the decisionmaker that the request was made too late to be considered. However, the Upper Tribunal disagreed and held that the question was whether a claimant came within the rules so as to allow their claim to commence at an earlier date and determined based on their eligibility.

The Secretary of State appealed this decision to the Court of Appeal.

Legal Issue

Whether a claimant’s claim for Universal Credit can be backdated in cases where they did not indicate their entitlement on their claim form or amend it before a decision is made.

Relevant Legislation

  • Welfare Reform Act 2012
  • Social Security Act 1998
  • The Social Security Administration Act 1992

Relevant Case Law

  • Secretary of State for Work and Pensions v Nelligan [2004] 1 WLR 894

This Court confirmed that the effect of section 1 (1) of the SSAA 1992 was that a claim (or, exceptionally, the deemed making of a claim) was a precondition to entitlement.

  • R(IB) 2/04

HH Judge Hickinbottom stated; “the decision can be revised simply on the basis that it is considered to have been wrong as at the date when it was made”.

  • GDC v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2020] UKUT 108 (AAC)

Outlines the online claim process for Universal Credit, and one could indicate an intention for backdating via a Journal entry.


The Court of Appeal dismissed the Secretary of State’s appeal against the Upper Tribunal decision that the start date of a claim could be challenged on revision, even in cases where the claimant had not included a backdating request in their initial submission for Universal Credit. It was also highlighted that the claim form does not necessarily provide an opportunity for a claimant to indicate their eligibility for backdating.