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Housing benefit is usually only paid for the accommodation you are living in, but there are occasions when you might still receive your housing benefit, even if you are temporarily away from home, either within or outside Great Britain (GB). For example, if you move into residential accommodation for a trial period.

Whatever the reason for your temporary absence, please contact the Housing Benefit team before you leave.

Away from home within Great Britain for up to 13 weeks or outside Great Britain for up to four weeks

You can get housing benefit for up to:

  • 13 weeks while you are temporarily away from home within GB
  • four weeks while you are temporarily away from home outside GB

if:

  1. you intend to return to live in the property as your home and
  2. the part of the property occupied by you is not sublet and
  3. the period of absence is unlikely to go over 13 weeks/four weeks

If you know that your absence will last longer than these periods, your benefit will stop from the beginning of the absence.

Away from home for longer periods

You can get housing benefit for up to:

  • 52 weeks while you are temporarily away from home within GB
  • 26 weeks while you are temporarily away from home outside GB

and you are:

  • a prisoner held on remand, or detained in an approved bail hostel awaiting trial. All other prisoners are limited to 13 weeks.
  • a patient in hospital
  • getting medical treatment, care or medically-approved convalescence care but not in 'residential care accommodation'
  • receiving temporary care in residential care accommodation but not residing there on a trial basis
  • providing medically-approved care
  • undertaking an approved training course
  • a student who qualifies for Housing Benefit (for example if you have to travel as part of your course)
  • in fear of violence, but you intend to return to live in the property

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