DWP rules for claimants going on holiday this summer

An image of Benidorm in Spain
There is a list of things you need to know if you claim certain benefits and are heading abroad -Credit:David Ramos/Getty Images

As the summer holiday season approaches, benefit claimants are being reminded of several Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rules they must adhere to. These regulations apply to millions of individuals, including those receiving universal credit and personal independence payments (PIP).

The rules stipulate that you may need to inform the DWP if you plan to be away for an extended period, or continue job hunting while overseas. In certain situations, you might also need to refrain from travelling abroad if you're awaiting the processing of specific claims.

With the holiday season just around the corner, it's crucial to understand which rules apply to you based on the duration of your trip and the benefits you receive.


Cabot Circus to ‘evolve’ as it aims to become a ‘multi-use destination’

The little hamlet near Bristol with a pub, weir and 'stunning' walks

Universal credit travel and holiday rules

The government has outlined certain changes in circumstances that must be reported to ensure you continue receiving the correct amount of universal credit. Failure to do so could result in overpayment, which would have to be repaid, reports Wales Online. If you're submitting a new claim for universal credit, you must be in the UK on the day of submission.

You should generally be safe to travel abroad later that same day or return from a holiday earlier that day. You can take a holiday for up to one month, but you must adhere to the conditions of the claimant commitment agreed upon when you first applied for universal credit.

Typically, this involves providing proof that you're actively seeking employment, such as showing applications for jobs. In the most severe cases, you may be required to return home for a job interview or to commence work. Changes in circumstances can be reported by ringing the universal credit helpline at 0800 328 5644.

Rules for PIP claimants regarding travel and holidays

For those receiving PIP, there are specific details you need to disclose. This includes informing them if you're leaving the country for a holiday.

The latest advice for PIP recipients states: "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."

Departing the country or intending to do so for more than four weeks - even for a holiday - could impact the amount of PIP you receive. The guidance notes: "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."