DWP rules you have to follow if you're going on holiday this summer

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

Benefits claimants going on holiday this summer are being warned of a number of Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) rules they must follow. The rules apply to millions of people including those who claim universal credit and personal independence payments (PIP).

Under the rules, you may need to tell the DWP if you are going away for an extended period of time, or do things like continue searching for work while you're abroad. In some cases you might also have to avoid going abroad if you're waiting on certain claims to be processed.

With holiday season fast approaching, it's worth nothing which rules you need to follow depending on how long you're going away for and which benefits you claim. To get the latest money stories straight to your inbox twice a week sign up to our newsletter here.

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Universal credit travel and holiday rules

According to the government there are certain changes in your circumstances that you need to report to ensure you continue to get the correct amount of universal credit. Otherwise you may receive too much money and have to pay some of it back. If you are making a new claim for universal credit, you must be in the UK on the day it's submitted.

You will normally be safe to travel abroad later that same day or return from a holiday earlier that day. You can go on holiday for up to one month but you must stick to the conditions of the claimant commitment you agreed to when you first applied for universal credit.

Usually this includes providing evidence that you are looking for work, such as jobs you have applied for. In a worst-case scenario you could be asked to return home for a job interview or to start a job. You can report a change in circumstances by calling the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644.

PIP travel and holiday rules

For those who claim PIP there are certain things you need to tell them about. This includes leaving the country if you're going on holidays. Recent guidance for PIP claimants says: "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."

Leaving the country or planning to do so for more than four weeks - even if this is a holiday - could affect how much PIP you get. The guidance says: "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."