Housing Benefit temporary absence from Great Britain Rule Changes

The Government has changed the rules on Housing Benefit, meaning people can now spend only four consecutive weeks living outside Great Britain and away from their home.

If you stay abroad for longer your benefits could stop.

What’s happening?

People claiming Housing Benefit have been able to spend up to 13 consecutive weeks away from their home and continue to receive support payments to help them meet their housing costs. However, that rule has now changed.

Now, people claiming Housing Benefit can only spend four consecutive weeks away from their home if they travel outside Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales – this does not include Northern Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands) If you – or someone living with you – spend longer than four weeks overseas, you could face having your support payments suspended.

So what do I need to do?

If you’re not planning to leave the country, or taking a holiday or trip of three weeks or less, there’s nothing to worry about.

But if you are planning a trip of more than four weeks overseas, it’s vital you think carefully about the potential impact on your claim.

If you will be out of Great Britain for more than four consecutive weeks – and you will still need to pay rent while you’re away – you may need to think about alternative means of meeting your housing costs.

If you’re unsure, talk to us before you book your trip.

Who is affected?

The new rules affect all claimants equally so anyone who claims housing benefit would be affected if they leave the country for more than a month.

Importantly though it’s not just the person who makes the claim who is affected – a claim may also be affected if others living in the house are away for an extended period.

This could affect people taking long holidays, visiting relatives overseas periods or people making religious pilgrimages.

Advice and support – where do I go for help?

Housing benefit team

T: 0161 770 6633

Access Oldham

Civic Centre, West Street, Oldham, OL1 1UG

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8.40am to 5pm

Wednesday 9.30am to 5pm

Oldham Citizens Advice Bureau


T: 0844 847 2638 Monday to Friday 10am to 4pm

Welfare Rights Free benefits advice

T: 0161 770 6655

Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Oldham Credit Union

Community based, fair and straightforward financial services including loans and savings


Email: enquiry@oldhamcreditunion.co.uk

T: 0161 678 7245

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday 10am to 3pm, Tuesday 10am to 12.30pm, Saturday 9.30am to 12.30pm