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Claiming Housing Benefit whilst away from home

To receive Housing Benefit you must be living in the property for which you are claiming benefit. However, some people can continue to claim Housing Benefit whilst away from home.

If you get Housing Benefit and you or anyone in your household will be away from your home for more than four weeks, you need to let us know.

The length of time for which you can continue to claim Housing Benefit whilst away from home depends on the reason why you are away.

Tell us that you or someone in your household will be away from home for more than four weeks »

To continue to get Housing Benefit whilst away from home, you must

  • Intend to return to live in the property after the absence ends - you can’t get Housing Benefit whilst you are away if you have no intention of returning home.
  • Not let or sublet your property whilst you are away – you or your landlord can’t rent your room or home out to other people whilst you are away.
  • Not be likely to be away for more than the time allowed at the start of your absence - you can’t intend to go and stay with relatives for 16 weeks and ask us to pay for the first 13 weeks.
  • Still be liable for rent on your normal home.
  • Provide the information and proof needed for your claim to continue.

If you’re going away outside of Great Britain

You can only continue to claim Housing Benefit for up to four weeks if you’re going away outside of Great Britain.  Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales.

Great Britain does NOT include Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

There are some exceptions to this rule. If one of the following applies to you, you can continue to claim Housing Benefit for up to 26 weeks whilst away from Great Britain:

  • a member of the armed forces posted overseas
  • a mariner
  • a continental shelf worker
  • receiving medically approved care.

If you’re going away but are staying in Great Britain

If you’re away from home but are in Great Britain and one of the following applies to you, you can continue to claim Housing Benefit for up to 13 weeks:

  • in residential accommodation (for example homes for the elderly) on a trial basis
  • convicted and sentenced for a crime
  • on holiday or visiting friends.

If you’re away from home because of domestic violence, you can continue to claim Housing Benefit for up to 26 weeks.

If you’re away from home but are in Great Britain and one of the following applies to you, you can continue to claim Housing Benefit for up to 52 weeks:

  • on remand awaiting trial
  • in hospital
  • receiving 'medically approved care' (for example those attending drug or alcohol rehabilitation schemes away from their home)
  • providing 'medically approved care' to someone else
  • caring for a child whose parent or guardian is away from home in order to receive medical treatment or 'medically approved' care
  • following a government training course
  • students
  • away because of fear of violence in your normal home.   

During your absence

If any of the following change during your absence you need to tell us straight away:

  • if you decide not to return to the property
  • if your reason for absence changes
  • if you’re going to be away for longer than expected.

Contact Benefits

Email: revenues@dover.gov.uk

Phone: 01304 872199

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