Temporary absence rules for benefit claims

The temporary absence rules set out when you can be away from home without losing benefit.

If any of the situations in the rules apply, you can keep claiming Housing Benefit, Council Tax Support, or both, for the time shown.

If a person who normally lives with you is away for any of the reasons given, you can count them as still needing a bedroom. But we might also need to take account of any income they have.

Reasons for temporary absence and time allowed.

Reasons for temporary absence and time allowed
Reason for absence Time allowed for temporary absence within Great BritainTime allowed for temporary absence outside Great Britain

Claimant absent in connection with the death of a partner

13 weeks

Up to 8 weeks

Claimant or partner absent in connection with the death of a child or qualifying young person normally living with the claimant

13 weeks

Up to 8 weeks

Claimant or partner absent in connection with the death of a close relative of the claimant, of a partner, or of a child or qualifying young person normally living with the claimant

13 weeks

Up to 8 weeks

Claimant or partner absent abroad in order to receive medical treatment

52 weeks

26 weeks

Claimant or partner accompanying a partner, child or qualifying young person for medical treatment abroad

52 weeks

26 weeks

The person enters residential accommodation to see if it meets their needs

13 weeks

4 weeks

The person is resident in hospital or similar institution as a patient

52 weeks

26 weeks

The claimant, partner or dependent child is undergoing medical treatment or medically approved convalescence in accommodation other than residential accommodation

52 weeks

26 weeks

The person is providing medically approved care to another person

52 weeks

4 weeks

The person is caring for a child whose parent is temporarily absent because they are in hospital or similar

52 weeks

4 weeks

The person is receiving temporary care in residential accommodation that is not on a trial basis

52 weeks

4 weeks

The person has left their home through fear of violence there

52 weeks

26 weeks

Absence in connection with being a mariner or continental-shelf worker

13 weeks

26 weeks

Absence in connection with being a share fisherman

13 weeks

4 weeks

The person is a student or is undertaking a training course

52 weeks

4 weeks

Members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces 

13 weeks

26 weeks 

The person is in Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands

 -       

4 weeks

Claimant or partner temporarily absent for any other reason

13 weeks

4 weeks