If you go abroad for longer than 4 weeks, you won’t get any Housing Benefit while you are away. There are exceptions – there is a 26-week limit for certain people who are abroad due to a particular type of work as listed in the Regulations (eg armed forces, mariners), some people fleeing domestic violence or if you are in hospital or undergoing medical treatment abroad. The time limit of 4 weeks can be extended by up to a further 4 weeks if you are abroad due to the death of a close relative and the Housing Benefit Office considers it unreasonable to expect you to return within 4 weeks. If you go to Northern Ireland, this counts as abroad under the new rules; they affect anyone away from Great Britain. When you go abroad you must intend to return within the 4 (or 8 or 26) weeks and actually be back home within that time period to be able to receive Housing Benefit for the period you are away. These new rules have been in place since 28th July 2016.
If someone who normally lives with you is going to be staying in the property they might be able to claim Housing Benefit instead – contact the Financial Inclusion Team on 0300 111 000 or 0800 633 5500 for advice.