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Forum Home  →  Discussion  →  COVID-19: Welfare benefit rules and entitlements  →  Thread

COVID-19 and HB where temporary absence exceeds 13 weeks

R2D2
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Welfare rights - Financial Inclusion and Advice Service, Suffolk County Council

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Total Posts: 15

Joined: 22 June 2010

We are becoming aware of a significant number of people who normally occupy supported accommodation but are staying with relatives to minimise the risk of catching the Coronavirus.  In some cases, this will significantly reduce the risk of infection because they would otherwise be sharing their accommodation with people who are ignoring the lockdown rules.

Although the Government has introduced an easement for temporary absences outside the UK, I am not aware of any easement regarding the 13 week temporary absence rule and I can see how it will be difficult to use the 52 week absence rule.

Having looked at HB regulation 7, there seems to be little scope for using the 52 week rule unless it can be argued that the claimant is receiving medically approved care provided in accommodation other than residential accommodation (HBR 7(16)(c)(vii)).

I wonder whether it could be argued that the required ‘care’ is the protection the family is providing from infection (shielding in some cases) and/or any support needs the family is fulfilling in place of the supported accommodation?  Could it further be argued that this is ‘medically approved’ because it is led by the science and would a medical certificate be necessary?

If we are unable to use this provision, or any other I may be unaware of, I fear we are about to be confronted with some serious rent arrears and overpayment problems when an increasing number of HB claimants are absent from their homes for more than 13 weeks.

Any thoughts please?

Amanda JB
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Leeds City Council

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Total Posts: 8

Joined: 4 February 2015

Do you get to see the LA bulletins?

CLAWD12 from 29/05/20 said anyone self-isolating as a result of advice by a medical practitioner or caring for others could be deemed as receiving or giving care or convalescence to satisfy the 52 weeks rule

Ken Butler
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Disability Rights UK

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Joined: 16 June 2010

Hi,

Are these LA Bulletins available online?

There seem to be a few sets HB LA guidance online but can’t find anything called CLAWD12.

Thanks.

Amanda JB
forum member

Leeds City Council

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Total Posts: 8

Joined: 4 February 2015

No they are not and they are not allowed to be shared outside your LA.

Most of what is in them is repeated in Welfare Bulletins later in the same month which are online