Benefits - temporary absence

What happens if I need to leave my home temporarily?

If you have to temporarily leave your home and need to continue receiving benefit you must tell us:

  • where you are going
  • how long you expect to be away from home
  • what is the reason for you leaving home.

You may continue to get housing benefit if you:

  • intend to return home
  • and not have let or sub-let your home
  • and still have liability to pay rent or Council Tax.

If your temporary absence from home is within Great Britain we may be able to pay benefit for 13 or 52 weeks.

We can pay housing benefit for up to 13 weeks if you are:

  • going into a residential care home or nursing home on a trial basis and you intend to return home if the trial is unsuccessful.
  • away from home for any other reason, such as a holiday, providing you intend to return to your home after the holiday.

We can pay benefit for up to 52 weeks if you are:

  • in hospital
  • being held in custody pending trial or sentence ('on remand')
  • living in an approved bail hostel or an address away from your normal home as a condition of bail
  • in a care home or independent hospital, for example, during respite care.

If your temporary absence is outside Great Britain, please continue reading below.

Housing Benefit changes to the temporary absence rules 

(No changes to temporary absence rules for Council Tax Support claims).

Transitional provision

A transitional provision will be included so that the changes do not apply to people who are already temporarily absent from Great Britain (GB) on the date the regulations come into force.

For temporary absences that start on or after 28 July 2016

These regulations intend to reduce the period of allowable absence outside GB from 13 weeks to four weeks for the majority of claimants.

This means that Housing Benefit and Pension Credit would generally not be paid for more than four weeks in the event of a temporary absence outside of GB.

(Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands - temporary absences to any of these places is absence outside GB). 

Situation

Before 28th July 2016

Rules of absence

OUTSIDE GB

On or after 28th July 2016

Rules of absence

OUTSIDE GB

Claimant or partner temporarily absent for any reason.

Up to 13 weeks

Up to four weeks

Claimant absent in connection with the death of a partner

Up to 13 weeks

Up to eight weeks

(four weeks and further four weeks if unreasonable to expect claimant to return)

Claimant or partner absent in connection with the death of a child or a qualifying young person normally living with the claimant

Up to 13 weeks

Up to eight weeks

(four weeks and further four weeks if unreasonable to expect claimant to return)

Claimant or partner absent in connection with the death of a close relative of claimant, partner or of a child of qualifying young person normally living with the claimant.

Up to 13 weeks

Up to eight weeks

four weeks and further four weeks if unreasonable to expect claimant to return)

Claimant or partner absent abroad in order to receive medical treatment

Up to 52 weeks

Up to 26 weeks

Claimant or partner accompanying a partner, child or qualifying young person for medical treatment abroad

Up to 52 weeks

Up to 26 weeks

A person enters residential accommodation to determine whether it is suitable for their needs

Up to 13 weeks

Up to four weeks

The person is resident in hospital or similar institution as a patient

Up to 52 weeks

Up to 26 weeks

The claimant, partner or dependent child is undergoing medical treatment (MT) or medically approved convalescence in accommodation other than residential accommodation

Up to 52 weeks

Up to 26 weeks

The person is providing medically approved care (MAC) of a person residing in the UK or elsewhere

Up to 52 weeks

Up to four weeks

The person is caring for a child whose parent is temporarily absent for receiving MAC or MT

Up to 52 weeks

Up to four weeks

The person receiving temporary care in residential accommodation that is not on a trial basis.

Up to 52 weeks

Up to four weeks

The person that has left their dwelling through fear of violence in that dwelling

Up to 52 weeks

Up to 26 weeks

In connection with being a mariner or continental shelf worker

Up to 13 weeks

Up to 26 weeks

In connection with being a share fisherman

Up to 13 weeks

Up to four weeks

The person is undertaking a training course

Up to 52 weeks

Up to four weeks

Students 

Up to 52 weeks

Up to four weeks

A person is detained in custody on remand pending trial, pending sentence upon conviction, has bail requirements to live elsewhere, needs to live in bail accommodation or is sentenced following conviction

Up to 52 weeks

Up to four weeks

Members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces

(as a member of the armed forces away on operations)

Up to 13 weeks if absent outside of GB.

If within GB, 13 weeks

For absence outside of GB, 26 weeks

For absence within GB, no change, 13 weeks

Useful forms

Contact details

Email:
Post address:
Derby Benefits
Customer Service Centre
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS
Phone: 01332 640444
Minicom: 01332 640666
Derby Benefits
Customer Service Centre
The Council House
Corporation Street
Derby
DE1 2FS