Hospital patients & intention to return

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    Graham Keys

    This is a scenario that has come up a few times now and I wonder if anyone can offer some advice.

    A customer in receipt of HB/CTB goes into hospital. Some months later the care worker advises us of this. No problem – covered by the 52 week temporary absence rule.

    A couple of months later the care worker gets back in touch to say that they are seeking to get the customer a place in a care home but haven’t got one yet, but that the customer will not be returning home. As there is no longer an intention to return we advise that HB would need to stop, but we could pay another 4 weeks unavoidable liability for the notice period.

    The care worker says they can’t give up the old house as that would make them homeless and that is against their rules, although they concede the customer will never be able to return there. They also feel it would damaging to the customer to know there is no chance of them going home. Customer wants to go home but medical opinion is that is just wishful thinking, the capability is not there.

    I have a lot of sympathy for that but it appears that the house can’t be given up but neither can we keep paying HB.

    There are a couple of opinions on how to handle this – since the customer wants to return and there is no other property to call her home, we just keep calling it a temporary absence OR she may want to return, but she can’t, so there is no intention to return, nothing we can do about it.



    This case was about something similar and may help. The desire to return does not equate to an intention to return.

    I don’t think you can help them. More than willing to hear an opposing view though.


    I’m afraid that for the same reasons I have to agree with Gerry.

    This sort of situation places us in the moral dilemma where we would like to be able to do something, but have to follow what the regs say.
    As has been said, once there is no intention (or ability) to return, that’s yer lot, and the desire to return (where for one reason or another it is not practical to do so) does not satisfy the conditions in the regs relating to [b:8dfb4aaa4e]temporary[/b:8dfb4aaa4e] absence. 8)

    But if anyone can argue an opposing point of view based on the regs, ……

    Kevin D

    Agree with the above replies – intention must be realistic.


    gag the care worker. 😈

    were you told verbally, or in writing? I.e. could you conveniently forget the care worker told you there was no intention to return?

    Julian Hobson

    I’m not sure about this.

    The commisioner draws the distinction between intention and desire and also talks about permenant and temporary arrangements.

    I think your tenant has an intention and not merely a desire irrespective of what those around him might think AND the lack of permenance to the current arrangement must by definition mean that it is temporary.

    This is, as the commissioner comments, a very difficult area for those advising customers in this position, but why should your customer be in anyway disadvantaged by the lack of resolution to her need.

    I would investigate the bit that says “The care worker says they can’t give up the old house as that would make them homeless and that is against their rules,” are they saying that homeless people can’t get residential care, if they need it ?

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