If you are receiving Housing Benefit and need to be away from your home for a period of time you may still be able to receive benefit, this is known as temporary absence.

Within Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales)

  • Up to 13 weeks (for most types of absence) 
  • Up to 52 weeks (for certain absences)
  • Special rules for trial periods in residential accommodation

Outside of Great Britain

If you are absent from your address and outside of Great Britain, Housing Benefit can be paid for up to four weeks.

In the following cases the four weeks can be extended

  • Death of a close relative (extension up to eight weeks)
  • Fleeing domestic violence (extension up to 26 weeks)
  • Member of the armed forces posted overseas (extension up to 26 weeks)
  • Mariner/ continental shelf worker (extension up to 26 weeks)

Types of temporary absence


Qualifying conditions

To qualify for temporary absence payments you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must have an intention to return to your home
  • Your home must not be re-let or sub-let during the period you are away
  • You must not be away for more than than the specified time (dependant on the reason for your absence)
  • We may ask you to provide proof of your absence

Report a temporary absence