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Universal Credit and going abroad

Many of you ask us if you can go abroad and the same time recieve Universal Credit. Some of you ask if you can go up to 4 weeks or even up to 4 months or longer while you receive medical treatment. We are pleased to provide you information about this topic. If you want to find out please click to open and read the letter from DWP.

Dear Sir,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information (FoI) request received on 11th February2017 . You asked:

Then, finally please be asked to clarify; - can people be absent from UK for over 4 weeks continuously while receiving Universal Credit? - if not, and if people have to be absent like that, will the Universal Credit be stopped? - Once Universal Credit stops due to the above reason, will people have to wait for at least 2 years until they re-apply Universal Credit?

Where a claimant has an award of Universal Credit, we allow a temporary period of absence abroad of up to one month for any reason. We also allow a longer period of up to six months temporary absence abroad for reasons of medical treatment. During this time Universal Credit is payable as normal.

Claimants will be required to submit information about changes of circumstance which may affect their entitlement or award as soon as possible after the change occurs and before the end of the assessment period in which the change occurs.

Claimants are, though, required to meet any work-related requirements, as set out in their Claimant Commitment, throughout their claim. When setting work-related requirements, these will be tailored to an individual's needs, experience and circumstances; making them realistic and achievable. All requirements are set in discussion with the claimant, who takes ownership of planning how they will meet the requirements. Claimants in the Intensive Work Search regime of the All Work Related Requirements group are expected to work search and be available for work, taking all reasonable action to secure employment while claiming Universal Credit.

During the rollout of Universal Credit there are certain conditions of entitlement which a claimant, who has been absent from the UK outside the permissible period, must satisfy. One of the conditions is that they have to be living in the UK for the last two years, and not have been abroad for more than four weeks continuously during that time. Further information on UC conditions of entitlement can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/404231/makingyour-uc-claim.pdf

When Universal Credit has been fully rolled out Regulation 11 of the Universal Credit Regulations 2013 will apply, the guidance is available in the public domain, and can be found at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2013/9780111531938/contents.

Anyone coming to the UK for the first time, or returning to the UK after being abroad for more than a month, must satisfy the Habitual Residence Test to be eligible to claim Universal Credit. The Habitual Residence Test has two elements: a legal right to reside and an objective assessment of factual evidence of habitual residence. A claimant can satisfy the right to reside element if they can demonstrate they are a qualified person for the purpose of benefit receipt (except in cases where certain rights to reside are excluded). British citizens have a legal right of abode in the UK, so they will automatically satisfy this element. For the second element, decision makers assess a wide variety of factors to determine whether someone is factually habitually resident. These include evidence of intention to remain and attachment to the UK. Case law has established that whilst length of residence can be taken into consideration, factual habitual residence cannot be established through length of residence in the UK alone. Each case is treated on its own merits, in the light of the person’s individual circumstances.

If you have any queries about this letter please contact me quoting the reference number above.

Yours sincerely,


DWP Central FoI Team -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Your right to complain under the Freedom of Information Act

If you are not happy with this response you may request an internal review by e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by writing to DWP, Central FoI Team, Caxton House, Tothill Street, SW1H 9NA. Any review request should be submitted within two months of the date of this letter.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner’s Office for a decision. Generally the Commissioner cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted our own complaints procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.org.uk/Global/contact_us or telephone 0303 123 1113 or 01625 545745

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