Housing Benefit and temporary absence from home

If you are receiving Housing Benefit and/or Council Tax Support, you need to inform the Council if you are going away for more than 2 weeks for any reason.

You can get Housing Benefit and Council tax Support for:

up to 4 weeks, if you are:

Outside of Great Britain (includes England, Wales and Scotland) and your absence is not expected to exceed 4 weeks

up to 8 weeks, if you are:

Outside of Great Britain (includes England, Wales and Scotland) due to the death of

  • a partner, child or young person that you have responsibility for
  • you or your partner’s close relative or a close relative of a child or young person for whom you or your partner are responsible for.

and it is unreasonable to expect you to return within the first 4 weeks.

up to 13 weeks, if you are:

  • on holiday in Great Britain (includes England, Wales and Scotland)
  • doing voluntary work
  • looking after a sick relative or friend
  • a convicted prisoner

but you must intend to return home within 13 weeks and you must not sublet your home. You must let the benefit team know when you decide to return home.

up to 26 weeks, if you are:

  • a member of the armed forces away on operations
  • a mariner
  • a continental shelf worker

up to 52 weeks if you are:

  • in hospital
  • in fear of violence
  • receiving respite care in a residential care home (see below)
  • in custody/on remand (as soon as you are sentenced you will be assessed under the 13 week rules)

but you must intend to return home and you must not sublet your home. You must let the benefit team know when you decide to return home. If at any time you decide you will not be returning to the property you must tell us straight away.

Residential care homes

If you are in residential care in Great Britain on a trial basis, you can continue to get your Housing Benefit for up to 13 weeks, as long as you intend to return home if the accommodation proves not to be suitable for you.

If you know you are going to be away from home, including starting a trial basis, please remember to tell the benefits team straight-away 

  • the reason why you will be away
  • how long you will be away for
  • if you intend to return to your home

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