DWP benefit rules for holidaymakers claiming Universal Credit, PIP, Carer's Allowance and Tax Credits

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If you're a benefits claimant, it's crucial to understand the holiday rules before you embark on your summer getaway.

As many Brits prepare for sun-soaked breaks in the coming months, those claiming benefits must navigate a more complex process than simply booking a flight. This is due to stringent regulations surrounding holidays for those receiving either Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or HMRC benefits.

Failure to adhere to these rules could potentially affect your benefit payments.

One such rule involves keeping officials informed about changes in circumstances, including overseas travel. Here, we break down the rules associated with different benefit payments and overseas travel, reports the Mirror.

Universal Credit

GOV.UK states that Universal Credit can continue for one month if you travel abroad.

However, you must be eligible for the benefit before you leave, maintain eligibility while away, and inform your work coach of your plans. If a close relative passes away while you're abroad and it wouldn't be "reasonable" for you to return to the UK, you can receive Universal Credit for an additional month.

While abroad, you must also uphold your "claimant commitment". This refers to the actions DWP expects you to take to receive your Universal Credit payments.

Non-compliance can result in a reduction of your Universal Credit payments.

Individuals in the "intensive work search group" must dedicate 35-37 hours per week to job hunting, even during holidays. Claimants are expected to provide proof of their job search efforts, such as a record of job applications submitted.

In extreme cases, claimants might be required to cut short their holiday for an interview or to commence employment.

Universal Credit rules allow for claims up to six months if you're travelling for medical treatment, approved convalescence by a health professional, or accompanying a partner or child for the same reasons. Failure to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), or travelling abroad beyond one month without qualifying circumstances, could result in your Universal Credit being reduced to zero for that assessment period.

PIP

For those receiving Personal Independence Payment (PIP), going abroad for over four weeks necessitates informing the DWP due to it being considered a "change of circumstance". PIP can be claimed for up to 13 or 26 weeks if related to medical treatment, which also applies to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for adults or Attendance Allowance recipients.

Carer's Allowance

Regarding Carer's Allowance, similar notification requirements and restrictions apply when travelling abroad.

Carer's Allowance is another benefit that can be affected if you travel abroad. As per Carers UK, you can still receive Carer's Allowance for a temporary period while overseas if you meet certain conditions:

  • You go abroad with the person you look after

  • They continue to receive a qualifying disability benefit - to a maximum of 26 weeks

  • The purpose of your trip is to look after them.

In other situations, you can continue to receive Carer's Allowance for up to four weeks, provided you haven't taken more than a four-week break from caring in the last 26 weeks. This can extend to an eight-week break from caring in the last 26 weeks if the reason for the break was hospitalisation of either you or the person you care for.

Tax Credits

When it comes to Tax Credits, you typically need to be in the UK to claim, but if you - or your partner - go abroad for up to eight weeks at a time, HMRC will treat you as if you are still in the UK, as long as you intend your visit abroad to be temporary. In some cases, you can be away for up to 12 weeks if:

  • Medical treatment for yourself, your partner or your child

  • Death of your partner, a child or a close relative of either you or your partner

Your tax credits will cease if you expect to be away for one year or more. Again, you will need to contact HMRC and inform them of your trip away.