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Rent Issues: Occupying - Temporary Absence in Rehab
Where a claimant goes into rehab, or similar unit, their HB entitlement will depend on whether they are being:

  • Rehabiliated in a hospital or similar institution where they are not liable for rent, or whether
  • They are having to pay rent for the rehab unit while they are there.

If the claimant is in rehab outside of the GB then they will fall under the 'Going Abroad' rules - click here.

In hospital or similar

If the rehab unit is in a hospital or similar, they could fall under the 'in hospital' rules and therefore the claimant can be treated as occupying their normal home if they intend to return within 52 weeks, and so HB can continue.

Paying rent for Rehab Unit

HB cannot generally be paid for 2 homes in these circumstances, unless they are in rehab because they are fleeing violence; or have moved out permanently and so need HB for the notice period on the place they have left.

So if they are liable for rent at the rehab unit and are intending to return to their rented property, then they are only able to get HB on one of these. The issue is whether their actual home or the rehab unit is their 'normal home' to determine which property they should claim HB on. 

Absence of less than 13 weeks
If they intend to return from the Rehab Unit within 13 weeks of when they first left their actual home, then there should be no question that their actual home is their normal home and that HB should continue there. If it turns out that HB has been claimed and paid on the Rehab Unit instead, then the claimant will not receive HB on their actual home too (unless other circumstances prevail - as in the paragraph above). And the claimant will need to decide whether they want to challenge this decision - see below.

Absence between 13 and 52 weeks
If they intend to return from the Rehab Unit between 13 and 52 weeks HB can continue on their actual home if the HB Office accept that the Rehab counts as medically approved care, and that their actual home is their 'normal' home during this period. If it turns out that HB has been claimed and paid on the Rehab Unit instead, then the claimant will not receive HB on their actual home too (unless other circumstances prevail - as in the paragraph above). And the claimant will need to decide whether they want to challenge this decision - see below. 

What if HB is being paid on the Rehab Unit?

The claimant cannot get HB on 2 homes because of being temporarily absent in rehab. 

Their options are:
  • To see if there is someone left living at their actual home that can claim HB in their absence on the basis of being treated as liable for the rent? Click here for more info and standard letters.
  • Challenge the decision that HB has been awarded on the Rehab Unit as their actual home is their normal home - see below.
  • Pay the rent themselves or see if a charity would help pay the rent.

If the HB on Rehab was paid at a different LA from their normal home, the claimant can ask their own HB Office to continue to pay at their normal home on the basis that the other LA's decision was independent of, and unconnected to any decision they might make (and it was wrong because their actual home was their normal home - not the Rehab Unit). 
It would then be up to the other LA to consider if they wish to recover an overpayment. Whether or not the overpayment is recoverable would then depend on whether it was an official error and if so, whether the claimant or anyone else to whom HB was paid (eg the Rehab Unit) could have known they were being overpaid: in which case it is recoverable from that person. But this can be challenged if the claimant can argue that they could not have been expected to know they were being overpaid: for example if they were incorrectly advised to claim HB at the Rehab Unit. However it is not guaranteed that this will succeed.

If they cannot convince the HB Office to pay HB on their actual home then they MUST put in a fresh claim when they return, and should try to get HB for the four weeks after they originally 'left' (HB Regulation 7 para 6(d)) - on the basis that HB had treated it as a permanent move out and therefore they are entitled to HB for a notice period. This can also be regarded as an underlying entitlement to offset against any overpayment the HB Office recover for the period they 'left'.

If the HB on the Rehab was paid in the same LA, ie by the same HB Office, it will be more difficult to argue that they should have paid on the normal home instead, but still might be possible. If the HB Office agrees to do this they will have to treat the HB paid on the Rehab Unit as overpaid, and again would generally be recoverable even if it is an official error, from the person/persons who could have been expected to realise they were being overpaid. But this can be challenged if the claimant can argue that they could not have been expected to know they were being overpaid: for example if they were incorrectly advised to claim HB at the Rehab Unit. However it is not guaranteed that this will succeed.

If they cannot convince the HB Office to pay HB on their actual home then they MUST put in a fresh claim when they return, and should try to get HB for the four weeks after they originally 'left' (HB Regulation 7 para 6(d)) - on the basis that HB had treated it as a permanent move out and therefore they are entitled to HB for a notice period. This can also be regarded as an underlying entitlement to offset against any overpayment the HB Office recover for the period they 'left'.





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