Changes in circumstances for benefits

Temporary absence from your home

Housing Benefit can normally only be paid when you are living at the address for which you are claiming. There are some exceptions which allow people to be absent from their home and still be entitled.

To qualify when you are away from home you must:

  • intend to return to the property and
     
  • you or your landlord must not sublet your home whilst you are absent and
     
  • your absence must not exceed 4, 13 or 52 weeks, dependent upon the circumstances for your absence

If you move away from home you must let us know before you leave. Once you have returned home, you need to let us know the date you came back.

Away for up to 13 weeks?

You may still get Housing Benefit for up to 13 weeks if you go away. For example, if you:

  • go abroad on holiday or to visit family

From 28 July 2016, the Government has made a change to the rules when you are going abroad. You can usually only get housing benefit for up to 4 weeks. It counts as going abroad if you go outside of England, Scotland or Wales. (Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and Channel Islands are classed as abroad).

  • stay in a relatives home to look after them whilst they are ill
     
  • go into a care home for a trial period and you intend to return home if the care home is unsuitable (if you become a permanent resident in the home your entitlement at your former address will end)

You must be resident in England, Scotland or Wales.

If it becomes clear that your absence is going to exceed 13 weeks your housing benefit will cease.

Away for up to 52 weeks?

You may still get housing benefit for up to 52 weeks in some situations (as long as you intend to return home within 52 weeks). For example, if you:

  • are on remand in prison
     
  • are in a bail hostel or have been bailed to stay away from home
     
  • are in hospital or receiving medical care
     
  • have moved from your home because of fear of violence

If your circumstances have changed please tell us by using our online change in circumstances form.

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