DWP holiday warning for benefit claimants including PIP and Universal Credit

Benefit claimants must follow strict rules if they plan on going on holiday this summer -Credit:Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Benefit claimants must follow strict rules if they plan on going on holiday this summer -Credit:Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Despite the weather picking up across the UK, nothing quite beats a nice trip abroad.

However, those claiming certain benefits will need to tread carefully if they plan going on holiday this summer. Those who receive Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) are always required to inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) about any significant changes in their circumstances.

However, some may not realise that this includes travelling overseas. Benefit rules stipulate that a holiday can last up to one month and even then, claimants must adhere to the conditions they agreed upon when initially applying for benefits.

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The Government has stated: "You need to report changes to your circumstances so you keep getting the right amount each month. You need to report changes as soon as they happen. Any delay may mean you receive too much money and will have to make a repayment.

"Changes in your circumstances can affect how much you're paid for your whole assessment period - not just from the date you report them."

If a claimant submits a new application for Universal Credit, they must be within the UK on the day it is lodged. However, it should be permissible to travel abroad later that same day or to have returned from a holiday earlier that day.

When you sign up for Universal Credit, you agree to certain conditions, such as proving you're job hunting. You might need to return home for an interview or to start work.

The DWP must know about changes like having a baby, moving with your partner or elsewhere, leaving a job, sickness preventing work or meeting your work coach, and updates to banking or contact details.

For these situations, call the Universal Credit helpline at 0800 328 5644.

Holiday rules for PIP claimants

Regarding PIP travel and holiday regulations, the Government's PIP guide states you must inform the DWP of any circumstance changes. This includes personal detail alterations, changes in assistance needs or health conditions, worsening medical conditions with less than 12 months to live, hospital or care home admissions, going overseas, incarceration, and for non-British citizens, any change in immigration status.

The PIP guide details: "We will need to know the date the claimant is leaving the country, how long they are planning to be out of the country, which country they are going to and why they are going abroad."

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has issued a warning to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) recipients regarding travel plans that could affect their benefits. The DWP's guidance highlights: "We need to know if the claimant's condition, the amount of help they need or their circumstances change. This is because it may change how much PIP they can get."

"It is important the claimant tells DWP straight away about any changes in their life that could affect their benefit. Based on these changes their benefit may go up, go down, stay the same or it may stop. If the claimant is overpaid, they will normally have to repay the money. Failure to tell DWP about any of these changes may result in prosecution."

"A temporary absence abroad for up to 13 weeks may be allowed, or up to 26 weeks if the absence is specifically for medical treatment. The claimant should notify us if they are planning to go abroad for four weeks or more."

Furthermore, the DWP cautions: "You could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if you give wrong information or do not report a change in your circumstances."

Additionally, the DWP advises that failing to report changes promptly could lead to a requirement to repay some of the benefit received. Claimants can inform the PIP enquiry line of any changes by calling 0800 121 4433.