To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Housing Benefit claimants who (1) are currently self-isolating or shielding from COVID-19, and (2) are temporarily absent from their main dwelling within the UK and who intend to return when medically safe to do so, (a) have been granted extensions for a temporary absence from home for 52 weeks, and (b) have had applications for extension on medical grounds rejected, in the last six months.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) continues to support existing benefit recipients in exceptional cases where their absence from home goes over the period allowed under the temporary absence benefit rules as they are self-isolating due to COVID-19.
Although the DWP has overall responsibility for the Housing Benefit scheme and its funding, local authorities have the statutory responsibility for its day-to-day administration. This includes the assessment of individual claims for benefit. Although local authority staff will keep a record on individual claims when a claimant is absent from home, this information isn’t recorded centrally.