Shelters Not Occupied
Shelter costs can be given for homes even when not actually occupied by the household – because of employment or training away from the home, illness, or abandonment of the home due to disaster or sudden, substantial loss.
If the client wishes to use the cost of a vacated home to be included in the shelter costs, they must intend to return to the home. If the home has any current occupants, they must not be claiming the shelter costs during the client household's absence from the home. The home cannot be rented or leased during the absence. This would need to follow the rules of rental property.
Clients are allowed to claim the expenses of two properties if they must maintain two residences due to the above criteria. If any shelter expenses must be verified and could delay the household's certification, you should advise the household that you can determine the eligibility without the deduction and verify the expense at a later date.
A client is eligible for utility allowances for a non-occupied shelter if they meet the requirements for a utility allowance. The household can only claim one utility allowance - you cannot code two utility allowances.