The Benefits Office has strict rules on going abroad while on benefits. But, you might be able to continue claiming benefits abroad even if you live or travel overseas.
The country, and the length of time you spend overseas, both determine how much you can claim. Check which countries have social security arrangements with the United Kingdom.
CLAIM BENEFITS ABROAD: Time spent overseas, or a move to abroad, does not always mean you stop getting your benefits.
Some welfare claimants choose to travel abroad or move to live overseas.
Claiming benefits in Europe and some non EEA countries could still be an option.
You need to inform several different government offices about your plans.
They will need to know that you want to carry on claiming benefits after living abroad. Be sure to contact the local Jobcentre Plus or whichever office pays your benefit. They would also need to know your return date if your move overseas is only a temporary one.
Note: HM Revenue and Customs also need to know if you are leaving the United Kingdom to live overseas. But, there is no need to inform HMRC if your reason for leaving Great Britain is for a holiday or a business trip.
You may still claim certain benefits even if you are heading to (or are already living in) a European Economic Area (EEA) country. There are other countries outside of the EEA which also have a special social security agreement with the United Kingdom.
Often, you can qualify for certain UK-based benefits. You might also get other benefits - provided by the specific country you are traveling to. Some individuals can also claim the State Pension if retiring abroad as well.
Unless you are claiming Winter Fuel Payments, you will need your statement of National Insurance that you paid in the United Kingdom to get your benefits.
Note: There will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, while the UK remains in the EU. You can 'apply for settled status UK EU citizens' from March 2019. It will allow you to continue living in the United Kingdom after June 2021.
You can make a claim for the Winter Fuel Payment even while you are living overseas if:
There is no requirement to have claimed it in the United Kingdom before you leave. But, you must have some 'genuine link with the UK social security system' to make a claim (e.g. you once lived or worked in the UK).
As a rule, the benefit that you claim determines the actual payment dates. What if your payment is due in the same week as a bank holiday in America? Because a US company processes most payments, it could arrive a few days late. This is especially so if you are claiming benefits while abroad.
Be aware that you would be committing benefit fraud if:
This is a list of countries which have benefits arrangements with the United Kingdom.
Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
Note: Even though Switzerland is not a member of the EEA, it is treated as an EEA country for certain benefits.
These countries have social security agreements with the United Kingdom. It is possible that you can claim certain benefits in these countries. But, it depends on a few external factors and the particular country involved.
Barbados, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Canada, Channel Islands, Macedonia, Israel, Jamaica, Kosovo, Mauritius, Montenegro, New Zealand, the Philippines, Serbia, Turkey, USA.
Check your eligibility to claim certain benefits abroad for carers and people with disabilities. The section explains how carers can claim benefits and allowances overseas.
You continue getting bereavement benefit abroad if you were getting it when you moved overseas. In these cases, it does not matter which country you move to.
Check the eligibility criteria to claim illness and injury benefits abroad. Find out the process for claiming Statutory Sick Pay and Employment Support Allowance overseas.
You need to be of working age, unemployed, and 'actively' seeking for work. But, meeting this criteria means you could get contribution-based JSA abroad if all these apply to you.
Check the eligibility criteria to claim certain maternity and childcare benefits abroad. The section explains how to get Statutory Maternity Pay and Maternity Allowance overseas.
CALL CHARGES: Check the rates for making a telephone call from a landline or mobile to popular numbers like 0800, 0808, 0845, 0870, 03 and others.
Going Abroad and Claiming Benefits from the United Kingdom