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Rent Issues: Temporary Absence - Hospital/Medical Care

NOTE: If the claimant is in hospital or providing care outside of the GB then they will fall under the 'Going Abroad' rules - click here.

Receiving medically approved care

A claimant who is away from home in GB while receiving "medically approved" eg in hospital, or respite or convalesce, can continue to receive HB for up to 52 weeks* on their normal home as long as they:

  • Are unlikely to be away for more than 52 weeks*, and
  • They intend to return to their normal home, and
  • Have not sublet it, and 
  • They have a 'live' HB claim.

Standard Letter CC9. HB Regulation 7 para 16.


Providing medically approved care

A claimant who is away from home in GB while providing "medically approved" care can continue to receive HB on their normal home as long as they:

  • Are unlikely to be away for more than 52 weeks, and
  • They intend to return home, and
  • Have not sublet it, and 
  • They have a 'live' HB claim.

Standard Letter CC10. HB Regulation 7 para 16 (v).

If the care is not medically approved then HB will only be paid if the claimant intends to return within 13 weeks, and does not sublet their property.

Caring for children
The Regulation also covers people having to care for a child under 16 while their parent or guardian is unable to look after them because they are receiving medically approved care or treatment.

Medically approved care

This care can be either in hospital or similar institution, or any accommodation so long as it is definitely medically approved by a medical practitioner.

So if the claimant needs to stay with a relative, for example to convalesce, they must obtain a letter from their GP or another recognised medical practitioner, otherwise their absence will fall under the 13 week rule.

*52 weeks - could this ever be longer?

While receiving / providing medically approved care the claimant has to intend to return home within 52 weeks. As soon as the HB Office become aware that the absence is likely to exceed this they will end the HB claim.

However the Regulation  7 (17) of the HB Regs do allow HB to be paid for up to 52 weeks if the claimant's absence is unlikely substantially to exceed  the 52 week period, and there are exceptional circumstances (such as perhaps a delay due to a relapse, ie some unanticipated event). DWP guidance suggests that periods of absence of up to 15 months would be OK under this rule but reminds HB Offices that it is for them to decide.


What if they are going to be away longer than 52 weeks?

If not entitled to HB due to the length of absence is there someone else living in the property who could claim - a partner or someone else who could be treated as liable?

Note - HB can be paid for up to 4 weeks for any notice period, if the claimant terminates their tenancy - click here for more information, and here for Standard Letter CC5.






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