Temporary Absence From Home
Am I still entitled to housing and council tax reduction if I am away from my home?
Normally housing and council tax reduction can only be paid if you are actually living in the property you are claiming for. But there are situations where we may still pay housing and council tax reduction if you are temporarily away from your home.
What does ‘temporarily away from home’ mean?
To keep receiving housing and council tax reduction, all the following must apply:
- You must intend to come back to live in the property
- The part of the property you normally live in must not have been re-let or sublet to someone else
- You must not be likely to be away for more than 13 or 52 weeks (see below).
Also, to keep receiving council tax reduction, you must still be responsible for paying the council tax on the property. Normally you can only be away for up to 13 weeks and still be able to receive housing and council tax reduction. If you are likely to be away from home outside of GB for more than 4 weeks, or away from home in GB for more than 13 weeks we cannot normally pay any housing and council tax reduction.
What are the special cases when it can be paid for up to 52 weeks?
If you are away for any of the following reasons, we may be able to pay housing and council tax reduction for up to 52 weeks (as long as at the outset it appears that you will not be away for much more than 52 weeks):
- a prisoner on remand
- in hospital as a patient
- having medical treatment or medically approved convalescence*, but you are not in residential care
- on an approved training course
- providing medically approved care*
- caring for a child whose parent or guardian is receiving medical treatment or medically approved care*
- receiving medically approved care*, but you are not in residential care
- certain students who are entitled to housing benefit
- away due to fear of violence
- receiving temporary care in residential care, but not if you are living there as a trial.
*Medically approved care must be certified by a medical practitioner (for example your doctor or a nurse).
How to apply
If you wish to apply for temporary absence, please complete an online application or contact us and we will send you one in the post.
Do it online
- Online benefits calculator
- Pay a benefit overpayment
- View your current housing benefit details
- Apply for housing benefit online
- Report a change in circumstances
- Report a change of address
Documents to download
- Proof of rent
- Discretionary Housing Payments Policy
- Housing Benefit Overpayment Recovery and Enforcement Policy 2022
- Citizens Advice Bureau website
- Advice UK website
- Appeal a benefit decision
- StepChange Debt Charity
- National Debtline
- Payplan website
- Advice centres
- Which? Later life care
- Turn2us - advice and support