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Council tax reduction temporary absence

What if I temporarily leave my home?

We usually only award Council Tax Reduction to a person who lives in a property as their home. In certain circumstances, we can continue to apply the reduction while you are temporarily away from home. To decide if we can apply the reduction we need to know:

  • why you are away from your home; and
  • how long you will be away.

If we decide to apply the reduction, we must decide how long for. This will be either 13 weeks or 52 weeks.

Qualifying conditions for a temporary absence

While you are away from home, you must meet the following conditions:

  • You must be planning to return home
  • You must not be away for more than 13 weeks or 52 weeks

People applying for a temporary absence who fall under the 13-week rule

  • Convicted prisoners serving a custodial sentence
  • People who are away from home doing paid or unpaid work in the United Kingdom or abroad
  • People who enter residential accommodation on a temporary basis to find out whether or not it would suit them as a permanent home
  • People who are on holiday or visiting relatives away from home or abroad

People applying for a temporary absence who fall under the 52-week rule

  • Prisoners remanded in custody, awaiting trial or awaiting sentence. This includes people in bail hostels
  • Hospital inpatients
  • People receiving medical treatment, or medically approved convalescence for themselves, a partner, or child
  • People providing medically approved care. This means care certified by a medical practitioner
  • People receiving respite care in residential accommodation, but not a person who lives in a residential care home on a trial basis

People applying for a temporary absence who are in legal custody

  • A person on remand is entitled to receive a Council Tax Reduction for up to 52 weeks. This is from the date on which the absence started. However, if they are then convicted, they will fall under the 13-week rule
  • If the person claiming has a partner who normally lives with them, we may ask them to apply for a Council Tax Reduction. This is so they can be counted as being liable to pay while the person claiming is away.

You must tell us immediately if you are held on remand, released, or convicted.

People applying for a temporary absence who are in residential care homes

  • People who are in a residential care home to receive respite care fall under the 52-week rule
  • People who go into residential accommodation on a trial basis. This is to see whether they would like to make it their permanent home. This falls under the 13-week rule

You must tell us immediately when you are going into residential care.

As soon as you have decided that you will be staying in residential care permanently, you must tell us immediately. We will cancel your benefit from the Sunday following the date which the decision to stay permanently was made.

People claiming for a temporary absence who are in hospital

Hospital inpatients fall under the 52-week rule. You must plan to return to your usual home. The property must not be relet or sublet while you are away.

People claiming for a temporary absence who are on holiday

If you go abroad for:

  • a holiday
  • religious or domestic reasons, or
  • simply take a holiday in the United Kingdom

you may be entitled to claim Council Tax Reduction for up to 13 weeks. We may ask to see evidence of how you have paid for the trip. We may ask you how you have supported yourself (and any family) while you are away from home.

If you have told us that you will be away for a certain period of time, you must tell us when you return. If you do not tell us at the expected return date, we may suspend your entitlement.

Always seek advice about Council Tax Reduction before going abroad for more than two weeks.