If you’re moving abroad, permanently or temporarily, or you’re returning to the UK, you’ll need to check how this affects any benefits you’re claiming. Whether you’ll still qualify for benefits will depend on where you’re going and for how long you’re staying, or where you’re returning from.
If you’re claiming any benefits and planning to leave the UK, even if it’s just for a visit, you’ll also need to tell the relevant benefit offices. See Who to contact below for details.
The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020. There is guidance on what this means for UK nationals living abroad on Gov.uk.
Will I be able to claim benefits when I’m abroad?
Different benefits have different rules – you may be able to claim some benefits abroad, particularly if you’re in a European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland. Use the Gov.uk benefits tool to find out about specific benefits in different countries.
Disability benefits: Attendance Allowance (AA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and Disability Living Allowance (DLA)
If you’re going abroad temporarily, you can keep claiming these benefits for up to 13 weeks. If you’re going abroad for medical treatment, this might be extended to 26 weeks, but you’d need to get agreement in advance from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
If you’re moving permanently to an EEA country or Switzerland, you may be able to continue to receive AA, the daily living component of PIP or the care component of DLA.
You can continue to receive Carer’s Allowance if you go abroad for up to four weeks in a six-month period. If you’re going abroad temporarily with the person you care for and they receive PIP, DLA or AA, this can be extended. If you move to an EEA country or Switzerland, you may be able to keep receiving payments or make a new claim.
You’ll still be able to claim your State Pension if you move abroad, but you’ll only get yearly increases in your pension if you move to:
EEA countries or Switzerland
countries that have a social security agreement with the UK – visit Gov.uk for an explanation of this.
If you’re going abroad temporarily, you can keep getting Pension Credit for up to four weeks if, at the start of the absence, you don’t plan to be away for more than four weeks. This may be extended up to eight weeks if the absence is caused by the death of your partner or child who is with you.
If you’re going abroad for medical treatment, you may be able to receive Pension Credit for up to 26 weeks. You can’t keep receiving Pension Credit if you move abroad permanently.
You can keep claiming Universal Credit if you’re going abroad for up to a month if, at the start of the absence, you don't plan to be away for more than one month. It may be extended up to two months if the absence is caused by the death of your partner, child or close relative who is with you.
If you’re going abroad for medical treatment or accompanying your partner or child for treatment, you can get it for up to six months.
The rules are slightly different if you are claiming Universal Credit as a couple. Contact Citizens Advice for more information.
Winter Fuel Payments
You may continue getting Winter Fuel Payments if you’re moving to most countries in the EEA or Switzerland. There are exceptions to this for countries where the average winter temperature is higher than the warmest part of the UK. You won’t receive payments if you move to:
If you haven’t claimed Winter Fuel Payment before, you can make a new claim from Switzerland or other EEA countries, except from the above countries, once you reach the qualifying age. You can do this providing you have a link to the social security system, such as having lived or worked in the UK, or getting the State Pension or other benefits from the UK.
If you’re going abroad temporarily and not subletting your property while you’re away, you’ll keep getting Housing Benefit for up to four weeks if, at the start of the absence, you don’t plan to be away for more than four weeks. This may be extended up to eight weeks if the absence is caused by the death of your partner or child who is with you. If you’re going abroad for medical treatment, you may be able to keep getting Housing Benefit for up to 26 weeks.
Bereavement Support Payment
You can receive Bereavement Support Payment if you move to an EEA country, Switzerland or Gibraltar and your spouse or civil partner died on or after 6 April 2017. You may also be able to claim in certain other countries.
Who to contact
You need to contact the relevant department for the benefits you are claiming: