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Craven District Council

Housing Benefit Change of Circumstances

You must tell us about any changes in your income or household circumstances. These changes could affect the amount of housing benefit you can claim.

If there is an overpayment of benefit you may have to pay some money back.

If you deliberately fail to tell us about changes which result in too much benefit being paid, you are committing an offence and you may be prosecuted.

Examples of changes in circumstances you must tell us about:

  • changes to your or your partner's income, capital or savings;
  • changes to the income of any adults or children living with you or the number of people living with you;
  • if you, your partner or any other adults in your household stop receiving Income Support or Jobseekers Allowance;
  • if any of your children leave college or school;
  • if you or someone in your household starts work;
  • changes to your tenancy or rent or if you are likely to be away from home for 13 weeks or more.

You must tell us immediately about any changes. If the change means you would get more benefit, and you do not tell us within one month, we will not be able to backdate the change.

Going abroad for four weeks or more

You will not be entitled to Housing Benefit from the start date of your absence if you leave Great Britain for longer than 4 weeks as you will be deemed not to be occupying your property.

There are some exceptions to this rule for members of the armed forces, mariners and people who are ill and/or receiving medical treatment which allow for up to 26 weeks’ absence outside of Great Britain.

This applies to everyone who claims Housing Benefits applies to both Working Age and Pensionable Age claimants.

Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not part of Great Britain for Housing Benefit purposes and therefore, any absences to those areas should be considered under the new absence from Great Britain provisions.

Circumstances of absence Within Great Britain Outside Great Britain
A person detained on remand pending trial or sentence upon conviction or as a condition of bail to reside in a dwelling other than their home 52 weeks 4 weeks
A person in a hospital or similar institution as a patient 52 weeks 26 weeks
A person, their partner or dependent child undergoing medical treatment, medically approved convalescence in accommodation other than residential accommodation 52 weeks 26 weeks
A training course 52 weeks 4 weeks
A person who is absent and undertaking medically approved care of a person residing in GB or elsewhere 52 weeks 4 weeks
A person who is caring for child whose parent or guardian is temporarily absent from the home of that parent or guardian and receiving medically approved care or medical treatment 52 weeks 4 weeks
A person receiving medically approved care provided in accommodation other than residential accommodation 52 weeks 26 weeks
A person receiving care in residential accommodation and is not staying on a trial basis to ascertain if the accommodation suits their needs 52 weeks 4 weeks
A person who has left their home through fear of violence 52 weeks 26 weeks
A person who enters residential accommodation on a trial basis to ascertain if it meets their needs with the intention of returning home 52 weeks 4 weeks
A person who is absent from GB in connection with the death of their partner or a child for whom he or his partner is responsible, the persons close relative, a close relative of the persons partner or a close relative of a child or young person for whom the person or persons partner is responsible 13 weeks 4 weeks plus an additional 4 weeks if the Decision Maker considers it unreasonable for the claimant to return home within the first 4 weeks
A member of Her Majesty’s forces posted overseas 13 weeks 26 weeks
A mariner 13 weeks 26 weeks
Continental shelf worker 13 weeks 26 weeks
Any other temporary absence for example, holiday 13 weeks 4 weeks