Downtime this weekend

Due to maintenance, our online forms will be unavailable on Friday 23 October 10pm to midnight, and on Sunday 25 October 6pm to 10pm. Sorry for any inconvenience.

Help whilst away from home

You are absent from your home and outside Great Britain

Great Britain consists of Wales, England and Scotland only and does not include Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Isles.

We cannot pay housing benefit for 52 weeks if you are absent from Great Britain.

Housing benefit can be paid up to 26 weeks under the following circumstances:

  • Where you, as the claimant, are absent due to following medically approved care:
    • You or your partner are absent abroad in order to receive medical treatment
    • You or your partner are accompanying a partner, child or qualifying young person for medical treatment abroad
    • You are resident in hospital or similar institution as a patient
    • You, your partner or a dependent child are undergoing medical treatment or medically approved convalescence in accommodation other than residential accommodation
  • You have left your dwelling through fear of violence in that dwelling
  • You are absent in connection with being a mariner or continental-shelf worker
  • You are a member of Her Majesty’s armed forces

Otherwise, housing benefit can only be paid if you are out of Great Britain for four weeks:

  • You or partner are temporarily absent for any reason
  • You are temporarily absent from GB as you are in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Isles (which are all outside GB)
  • You enter residential accommodation on a trial basis
  • You are providing medically approved care of a person residing outside of Great Britain
  • You are caring for a child whose parent is temporarily absent receiving medically approved care or medical treatment residing outside Great Britain
  • You are receiving temporary care outside of Great Britain in residential accommodation that is not on a trial basis
  • You are absent in connection with being a share fisherman
  • You are a student or are undertaking a training course

Example situations

  1. A lady on housing benefit states that she is going to Cyprus for three weeks and she intends to return at the end of the three weeks. Her housing benefit can continue to be paid
  2. A man on housing benefit states he is going to Northern Ireland for two weeks and intends to return at the end of the two weeks. Housing benefit can continue to be paid. In the second week, he phones the council to say he is staying a further four weeks. There is no medical reason for him staying in Northern Ireland. As this then exceeds the four week limit, his housing benefit is cancelled from the Monday following the date he notified the council he was staying in Northern Ireland

Last updated: ‎22‎/‎01‎/‎2020‎ ‎11‎:‎15‎