DWP rules you must follow if you're planning a holiday this summer

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

Benefits claimants planning a holiday this summer are being alerted to several Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) regulations they must adhere to. These rules affect millions, including those receiving universal credit and personal independence payments (PIP).

The guidelines stipulate that the DWP may need to be informed if you're planning an extended trip, or things such as job hunting may need to continue while overseas. In certain instances, claimants awaiting the processing of specific claims may need to refrain from travelling abroad.

As the holiday season rapidly approaches, it's crucial to understand which rules apply based on the duration of your trip and the benefits you receive. To stay updated with the latest financial news, sign up for our twice-weekly newsletter here.

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Universal credit travel and holiday rules

The government states that any changes in your circumstances must be reported to ensure you continue to receive the correct amount of universal credit. Failure to do so could result in overpayment, which would need to be repaid. If you're submitting a new claim for universal credit, you must be in the UK on the day it's submitted.

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 you agreed to when you first applied for universal credit.

Typically, this involves providing proof that you're actively seeking employment, such as job applications. 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 phoning the universal credit helpline at 0800 328 5644.

Rules for PIP claimants regarding travel and holidays

For those receiving PIP, there are certain details you must disclose. This includes any plans to leave the country for holiday purposes.

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."