DWP holiday warning for Universal Credit and PIP claimants - what you need to report

-Credit: (Image: Getty)
-Credit: (Image: Getty)

Whilst the weather in the UK is improving as we head into summer, often there's nothing that can compare to a pleasant journey abroad.

Nonetheless, some benefit recipients will have to navigate carefully if they intend on having a holiday this summer. Specifically, those who are uplifted by Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) must, as a rule, inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) of any significant alterations to their status.

Though what may escape some individuals' attention is that this stipulation also applies to foreign travel. Within the guidelines for benefits, it's set out that a vacation can have a maximum duration of one month.

Even within this timeframe, beneficiaries should stick to the terms they committed to at the onset of their benefit claim,, reports the MEN.

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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 an individual makes a new request for Universal Credit, they should be on UK soil on the day the application is put forth. Nevertheless, it's acceptable to embark on a journey abroad later that same day or to have come home from a vacation earlier that day.

When committing to Universal Credit, beneficiaries accept certain conditions, such as demonstrating they are seeking employment. They might be required to return to the country for an interview or to commence work.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) necessitates to be informed about several events such as having a baby, moving house, leaving employment, illness limiting work or appointment with your work coach, along with alterations in bank or contact information. To report these instances, individuals are advised to approach the Universal Credit helpline at 0800 328 5644.

Clarifying the holiday guidelines for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) beneficiaries, the Government's document states that the DWP should be promptly notified about any amendments in personal details, health needs or conditions, medical prognosis of less than 12 months lifespan, shifts into hospital or care facilities, taking trips abroad, periods of being held in custody, and changes in immigration status for non-UK citizens.

In the context of travel plans, the guide declares: "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."

Issuing a notice to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) recipients, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) signalled caution regarding travel arrangements that might impact their benefit claims. The DWP underscores stating: "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.

"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."

Claimants can inform the PIP enquiry line of any changes by calling 0800 121 4433.

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