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Absence from home

Find out more information about if you can receive temporary benefits while away from home.

Temporarily away from home - can I get benefit?

Temporary absence from home - Absence inside and outside of Great Britain (GB)

From 28th July 2016 there have been some changes to the periods we can continue to award Housing benefit if you or a member of your household are temporarily absent from your home and the absence is taking you outside of GB. Normally Housing and/or Council Tax Support can only be paid if you are actually living in the property you are claiming Benefit for. There are situations where we may still pay Housing and/or Council Tax Support if you are temporarily absent from your home. Depending on the reason why you are absent, we may be able to pay Housing and/or Council tax Support for a period of 4 weeks or possibly more in special cases (see below). Where the absence is by another member of the household then this may affect the amount of benefit or support you are awarded if we have to remove them from your account for a period of time.

What does temporarily absent mean?

To continue to receive Housing and/or Council Tax Support all the following conditions must be met:

What are the periods that Housing and/or Council Tax Support can be paid for when absent from the property?

For any periods of absence up to and including the 28th July 2016 the previous rules will apply and we will consider an award of up to 13 weeks or 52 weeks in specific circumstances.

What happens if my circumstances change?

The three conditions for still receiving Housing and/or Council Tax Support have been mentioned earlier in this leaflet.

If there is a change in your circumstances which means that you no longer intend to return to the property you are claiming Housing and/or Council Tax Support for, we will no longer be able to pay Benefit under these rules. This will not affect any Benefit paid while you still intended to return to the property.

If the part of the property you normally live in is re-let or sub-let to someone else, we will no longer be able to pay Benefit under these rules. This will not affect any Benefit paid prior to this being done.

If it comes to light that you are going to be absent for more than the 4, 13 or 52 weeks, then we will stop paying you Housing and/or Council Tax Support.

If you are one of the 26 or 52 week special cases, we may be able to pay Benefit a little longer depending on your reasons.

If there is a change in your circumstances you must always let us know, so that we pay your Benefit correctly.

What happens if I return home for a short time but then have to leave again?

If you return home and live there and then have to leave again, you must let us know. We will normally start a new period of temporary absence provided the conditions outlined previously are met.

 

What if I disagree with the Council's decision on Housing and/or Council Tax Support?

If you disagree with the decision, you can ask us to look at your claim again. You must contact us within one month of the date of the decision letter. You can phone, write or visit us and ask us to explain the decision and/or request a written statement of reasons, which will show more information about the decision. If you are still dissatisfied, you can appeal. Please contact us and we will advise you further

 

The table below details the periods of absence allowable both within GB and outside of GB effective from 28th July 2016.

Circumstances of absence

 

Within Great Britain

Outside Great Britain

A person detained on remand pending trial or sentence upon conviction or as a condition of bail to reside in a dwelling other than their home

52 weeks

4 weeks

A person in a hospital or similar institution as a patient

52 weeks

26 weeks

A person, their partner or dependent child undergoing medical treatment, medically approved convalescence in accommodation other than residential accommodation

52 weeks

26 weeks

A training course

52 weeks

4 weeks

A person who is absent and undertaking medically approved care of a person residing in GB or elsewhere

52 weeks

4 weeks

A person who is caring for child whose parent or guardian is temporarily absent from the home of that parent or guardian and receiving medically approved care or medical treatment*

52 weeks

4 weeks

A person who is receiving medically approved care provided in accommodation other than residential accommodation

52 weeks

26 weeks

An eligible student

52 weeks

4 weeks

A person who is receiving care in residential accommodation and is not staying on a trial basis to ascertain if the accommodation suits his needs

52 weeks

4 weeks

A person who has left their home through fear of violence

52 weeks

26 weeks

A person who enters residential accommodation on a trial basis to ascertain if it meets their needs with the intention of returning home

52 weeks

4 weeks

A person who is absent from GB in connection with the death of their partner or a child for whom he or his partner is responsible, the persons close relative, a close relative of the persons partner or a close relative of a child or young person for whom the person or persons partner is responsible

13 weeks

4 weeks plus additional 4 weeks if the Decision Maker considers it unreasonable for the claimant to return home within the first 4 weeks

A member of Her Majesty's forces posted overseas

13 weeks

26 weeks

A mariner

13 weeks

26 weeks

Continental shelf worker

13 weeks

26 weeks

Any other temporary absence e.g. holiday

13 weeks

4 weeks

*Medically approved care must be certified by a medical practitioner (e.g. your doctor or a nurse).