If you are on Housing Benefit and go abroad for longer than 4 weeks, you won’t get any Housing Benefit while you are away. If you are on Universal Credit and go abroad for longer than a month, you won’t get any Universal Credit while you are away and the whole UC award will be ended. You’ll have to make a completely new claim when you return.
There are extensions to the 4 week (HB)/ one month (UC) limit: 26 weeks / 6 months for certain people who are abroad due to a particular type of work as listed in the Regulations , or people undergoing medical treatment /convalescence. The time limit can be extended by up to a further 4 weeks / one month if you are abroad due to the death of a close relative and it’s unreasonable to expect you to return within 4 weeks / one month. 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 time limit and actually be back home within that time period to be able to receive Housing Benefit / Universal Credit 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 / Universal Credit instead contact the Financial Inclusion Team on 0300 111 000 or 0800 633 5500 for advice.