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Temporary absence from home
It is a condition of receiving Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support that you are actually living in the property for which you are claiming benefit or support.
There are certain exceptions to this rule which means that some people can continue to claim benefit or support during periods of absence from the property. This page explains the circumstances in which people can continue to claim whilst being away from the property.
The length of time for which you can continue to claim benefit / support during an absence depends on the reason why you are away from your property. Some groups of people can continue to claim for 13 weeks and some groups can claim for 52 weeks.
For both groups of people, however, the basic qualifying conditions below must always be met:
- you must intend to return to live in the property
- you (or your landlord - if applicable) must not sublet your accommodation whilst you are away
- your absence must not be likely to exceed 13 or 52 weeks at the start of the absence. For example, you cannot intend to go and stay with relatives for 16 weeks and ask us to pay for the first 13 weeks.
The '13 week rule'
Certain groups of people are allowed to continue claiming for up to 13 weeks during a period of absence. These are:
- people in residential accommodation (such as homes for the elderly) on a trial basis
- people who have been convicted and sentenced for a crime
- people on holiday or visiting friends.
The '52 week rule'
Certain groups of people are allowed to continue claiming for up to 52 weeks during a period of absence. Examples of these are:
- people on remand awaiting trial
- people in hospital
- people receiving "medically approved care" (such as those attending drug or alcohol rehabilitation schemes away from their home).
If you are unsure of how your absence will be treated contact us for advice.
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 to know the following:
- the likely period of your absence
- the reason for your absence
- a statement confirming that you will return to live in your property and that you will not sub-let it during your absence.
During your absence
If any of the following change during your absence you need to inform us immediately:
- if you decide not to return to the property
- if your reason for absence changes
- if your absence is likely to be for longer than expected.
Ways to contact us about Council Tax and benefits
If you need to contact us about Council Tax and benefits you can do so by: