Cost of living: DWP explains rules around Universal Credit and going on holiday - will my benefit be stopped?

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Universal Credit claimants should be aware of the rules for going on holiday as breaking them could mean your benefit is stopped - here’s what you need to know.

Universal Credit claimants will no doubt want to be aware of the rules for going on holiday if they’re heading overseas this summer. People who claim the benefit have to notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if they are planning to go abroad.

If you are away from the UK for up to one month at a time, you can continue claiming Universal Credit. But you will be required to stick to the requirements in your claimant commitment during this time - which could mean looking for work while abroad.

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Claimants in the “intensive work group” should be spending 35 to 37 hours a week looking for work - and this does not change if you go on holiday, said the DWP. It means claimants will need to show evidence of the jobs they have looked at and applied for while they’ve been away.

A claimant could even be asked to come back home for a job interview or to start work in some cases. A spokesperson said: “We have never asked anyone to come back early, but it is a possibility.”

You may be able to keep claiming Universal Credit for longer than one month when you’re abroad in some circumstances, for example if you’ve recently suffered a bereavement. The extension period can be applied in the following cases:

  • Bereavement
  • Medical treatment
  • Claimant who is a mariner or continental shelf worker
  • Crown servants or those serving in HM Armed Forces

You should notify the DWP that you intend to go abroad and the reason why you are going. If you don’t, or you go abroad for longer than one month, then your Universal Credit assessment period could be reduced to nil.

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Universal Credit claimants will no doubt want to be aware of the rules for going abroad if they’re going on holiday overseas this summer.Universal Credit claimants will no doubt want to be aware of the rules for going abroad if they’re going on holiday overseas this summer.
Universal Credit claimants will no doubt want to be aware of the rules for going abroad if they’re going on holiday overseas this summer. | Getty

This means your next Universal Credit payment will not be paid on the due date - but it won’t be terminated altogether. Although you won’t get a payment for the period you’ve been away, but you won’t have to start your claim again and wait another five weeks for your benefit payment.

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If a claimant is receiving medical treatment or is accompanying their partner, child or qualifying young person who is receiving such treatment, the DWP can consider agreeing to an extended absence for up to six months. If the claimant can provide evidence of this, their work-related requirements can be switched off while they are abroad.

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