Absence from Home

New Regulations reduce the period that a person can be temporarily absent from Great Britain where entitlement to Housing Benefit and Pension Credit continues, from 13 weeks to 4 weeks in most cases.

Great Britain, unlike the United Kingdom, does not include Northern Ireland, nor the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.  This will mean temporary absences to these places will be treated under the new rules. Please see the Temporary Absence Guide below for further information regarding the changes.

You must tell us and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if you have to leave your home for a period of time, but intend to return to the property.

By informing us of your circumstances before you go, we may be able to pay your benefit while you're away.

In certain cases, you may be able to continue receiving housing benefit for up to 26 or 52 weeks. Please contact us to find out if we can pay your benefit while you are away.

You may need an appointee - someone to handle your benefit affairs while you are away. We can advise you how to do this.

Please note that Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are NOT within Great Britain

Circumstances of absenceWithin Great BritainOutside Great Britain
A person detained on remand pending trial or sentence upon conviction or as a condition of bail to reside in a dwelling other than their home52 weeks4 weeks
A person in a hospital or similar institution as a patient52 weeks26 weeks
A person, their partner or dependent child undergoing medical treatment, medically approved convalescence in accommodation other than residential accommodation52 weeks26 weeks
A training course52 weeks4 weeks
A person who is absent and undertaking medically approved care of a person residing in GB or elsewhere52 weeks4 weeks
A person who is caring for child whose parent or guardian is temporarily absent from the home of that parent or guardian and receiving medically approved care or medical treatment52 weeks4 weeks
A person who is receiving medically approved care provided in accommodation other than residential accommodation52 weeks26 weeks
An eligible student52 weeks4 weeks
A person who is receiving care in residential accommodation and is not staying on a trial basis to ascertain if the accommodation suits his needs52 weeks4 weeks
A person who has left their home through fear of violence52 weeks26 weeks
A person who enters residential accommodation on a trial basis to ascertain if it meets their needs with the intention of returning home52 weeks4 weeks
A person who is absent from GB in connection with the death of their partner or a child for whom he or his partner is responsible, the persons close relative, a close relative of the persons partner or a close relative of a child or young person for whom the person or persons partner is responsible13 weeks4 weeks plus additional 4 weeks if the Decision Maker considers it unreasonable for the claimant to return home within the first 4 weeks
A member of Her Majesty's forces posted overseas13 weeks26 weeks
A mariner13 weeks26 weeks
Continental Shelf Worker13 weeks26 weeks
Any other temporary absence, eg. Holiday13 weeks4 weeks