Temporary absence. In hospital for more than 52 weeks.

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    We have a claimant who has been in hospital for over 52 weeks. We paid HB for the first 52 weeks. She is still in hospital and she is now returning home from time to time, making day visits with a view to eventually returning to live in the property. In a few weeks she hopes to commence sleeping in the property for a few odd nights before gradually increasing the number of times she sleeps there until eventually (hopefully) she is able to return there full time.

    I believe that a new period of 52 weeks can be given if the claimant returns, even if only for one night, providing the intention is to return full time. However, would returning to the home for a few hours during the day be enough to allow us to treat this as a "return" and to award a further 52 weeks?

    If not, could we award a further 52 weeks once she actually spends a night at the property (providing she intends to eventually return full time)?

    Is there anything else that anyone can suggest that might help her?




    Lots of caselaw on this; the above is an early example.

    The return for one night may well help; and in the example you give I would accept it as starting the process again.

    Would a few hours count? It could do in a specific case. Most decision makers would insist on more than that but it is certainly possible to construct a case for it in such circumstances (every case would be different) and the case law does help with this. I would be minded to allow HB from the first day visit myself in this particular instance on the basis that there are regular visits suggesting a return to home.


    Thanks Peter,

    This is very helpful. I still think that the case is a little tenuous, but we are trying to help this lady and I think we can construct a case that is sufficient to convince auditors that paying HB is not wrong (even if we can’t conclusively prove that it is correct).

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