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Temporary absence

It is a condition of receiving Housing Benefit that you are actually living in the property for which you are claiming benefit. There are certain exceptions to this rule which means that some people can continue to claim Housing Benefit during periods of absence from the property.

General rules:

  • The person must have an intention to return and occupy the dwelling as their home.
  • The person (or the landlord) must not let or sublet the accommodation whilst the person is away.
  • The person must return within the time limits stated below:
    • for an absence within Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales) a person can be absent up to 13 weeks for any reason
    • for an absence outside Great Britain a person can normally only be absent for a continuous period of up to 4 weeks

It is possible to have these periods extended in certain special circumstances. Download our Temporary absence information for more details about how long you can be absent and still retain your Housing Benefit:

If you are unsure how your absence will be treated, please contact us for advice.

Information you need to supply

If it is clear that you will be away from your property for a length of time, please advise us before you leave. We need the following information:

  • The dates of the likely period of absence;
  • The reason for the absence;
  • A statement confirming that the person will return to live in your property and that you will not sub-let it during the absence.

You may also be asked to complete a new application form.

During the absence

If anything changes during the absence you need to let us know immediately:

  • if the person decides not to return to the property;
  • if the reason for absence changes;
  • if the absence is likely to be for longer than expected.