DWP warning for Universal Credit and PIP claimants urged to notify officials over foreign holidays
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Benefit claimants are now required to notify officials if they travel overseas, in a warning by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). People who receive benefits such as Universal Credit and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) need to update the DWP of any changes to their circumstances, which includes going abroad.
With summer just around the corner, many people will be taking holidays and some may be longer than allowed by their employers under the annual leave policy. According to reports, a holiday can be for up to one month provided they continue to meet the requirements they agreed to when first claiming the benefit.
The Government said: "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.
It added: “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."
In terms of travel, if you are submitting a new application for Universal Credit, you must be in the UK on the day it is submitted. However, there should be no issue if you are travelling abroad later that day or have returned from a holiday earlier that day.
The DWP also needs to know of any other changes in circumstances. These could include having a child, moving in with a partner or to a new address, leaving a job, being too sick to work or meet your work coach, and changing your bank details, phone number or email address.
PIP’s travel and holiday rules
The Government’s guide to PIP states that people must inform the DWP of changes in circumstances. Claimants must contact the PIP enquiry line if:
- your personal details change, for example your name, address or doctor
- the help you need or your condition changes
- your condition has worsened and you’re not expected to live more than 12 months
- you go into hospital or a care home
- you go abroad
- you’re imprisoned or held in detention
- your immigration status has changed, if you’re not a British citizen
The PIP guide 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."
The DWP also has also warned claimants they could be taken to court or have to pay a penalty if they do give wrong information or do not report a change in their circumstances. Failing to do this could see them repay some of the benefit.