Temporary absence from home

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How long can I receive Housing Benefit for if I am away from home?

The amount of time that you can receive Housing Benefit depends on the reason you are away from home. If you leave Great Britain you will be able to receive up to 4 weeks (unless you are intending to be away for longer than 4 weeks) If you are staying in Great Britain some people can get 13 weeks and some will be able to receive up to 52 weeks benefit.

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Can I receive Housing Benefit for my home if I am not living there?

You can receive Housing Benefit when you are away from home on a temporary basis, but you have to meet certain conditions and you must intend to return to your home within a set amount of time.

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What if I am going abroad?

You can still get Housing Benefit for up to 4 weeks if you leave Great Britain providing you intend to return to your property within the 4 weeks and you must not sublet your property.

If you leave Great Britain and the period that you are away is for more than 4 weeks then your Housing Benefit will stop from the date you leave the country.

 

This also applies to your other household members, so please tell us straight away if anyone is going abroad.

 

There are certain exceptions to this rule, for more information please contact the benefit section.

 

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Who can receive up to 13 weeks Housing Benefit?

You can receive Housing Benefit for up to 13 weeks if you are away from home, but do not leave Great Britain, for example because you are:

  • on holiday (but not abroad)

  • doing voluntary work

  • looking after a sick relative/friend

  • a convicted prisoner

but you must intend to return to your property within 13 weeks and you must not sublet your property.

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Who can receive up to 52 weeks Housing Benefit?

You can receive Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks if you are away from home, but do not leave Great Britain, for example because you are:

  • in hospital

  • in custody or on remand

  • in fear of violence

  • receiving care in a residential care home (but not if you are there on a trial basis).

but you must intend to return to your property within 52 weeks and you must not sublet your property.

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What are the rules if I am in residential care on a trial basis?

If you go into residential care on a trial basis to see if it suits you, you can receive Housing Benefit for up to 13 weeks, but you must intend to return to your property within 52 weeks and you must not sublet your property.

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What should I do if I know that I am going to be away from home?

You should tell the Benefit Office straight away.

You can email us at: benefits@stalbans.gov.uk

You can phone us on 01727 819220 , we will ask you to confirm the details in writing.

Or you can visit the Benefit Help Desk at the Council offices.

We will need to know:

  • Where you are going
  • the reason why you are away,
  • how long you will be away for,

  • if you intend to return to your home,

  • if you have sublet your property and

  • if your income or capital will change while you are away from home.

We will then be able to tell you if you are entitled to benefit while you are away from home.

In certain cases it may be necessary for you to complete a new form to cover your absence from home.

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What if I am going into Hospital?

If you go into hospital in Great Britain you can continue to receive Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks providing you intend to return to your home when you leave hospital.

If you go into hospital whilst you are abroad, Housing Benefit can continue for up to 26 weeks providing you intend to return to your home when you leave hospital.

If you have a partner who normally lives with you still living in your home, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction will continue to be paid in their name.

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What if my circumstances change when I am away from home?

We need to know if your circumstances change while you are away. You can email us write to us or phone us at the Benefit Office on 01727 819220.

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What if I decide not to return to my home?

If you decide not to return to your home you should tell us know immediately at the Benefit Office. We will stop paying you benefit from the Monday following the date you decide not to return home.

For example, if you decide on a Tuesday that you do not want to return to your home we have to stop your benefit from the following Sunday.

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Date of last review: 13 December 2016