What should I do if I’m moving abroad?

If you’re moving abroad, you should inform:

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.

Brexit

To find out about what might happen in the event of the UK's exit from the EU, visit gov.uk/guidance/advice-for-british-nationals-travelling-and-living-in-europe. You can also find advice about specific countries and sign up for email alerts on gov.uk/uk-nationals-living-eu.

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 tool on gov.uk/uk-benefits-abroad 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.

Carer’s Allowance

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.

State Pension

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 – go to Gov.uk for an explanation of this.

Pension Credit

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.

Universal Credit

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. Contact Citizens Advice for details if this affects you.

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:

  • France
  • Spain
  • Cyprus
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Malta
  • Portugal.

If you haven’t claimed Winter Fuel Payment before, you can make a new claim from Switzerland or other EEA countries, except the above, once you reach the qualifying age, providing you have a link to the social security system, such as having lived or worked in the UK, or getting a State Pension or other benefits.

Housing Benefit

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:  

  • Attendance Allowance (AA) - AA helpline: 0800 731 0122
  • Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - PIP helpline: 0800 121 4433
  • Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - DLA helpline: 0800 121 4600 if you were born on or after 8 April 1948; 0800 731 0122 if you were born before 8 April 1948
  • Carer’s Allowance - Carer’s Allowance Unit: 0800 731 0297
  • State Pension - contact the International Pension Centre: 0191 218 7777
  • Pension Credit - Pension Service: 0800 731 0469
  • Universal Credit - Department of Work and Pensions: 0800 328 5644
  • Winter Fuel Payments - Winter Fuel Payment Team at the International Pension Centre: 0191 218 7777
  • Housing Benefit - contact the housing department of your local council
  • Bereavement Benefits - International Pension Centre: 0191 218 7777 

If you’re moving permanently, contact the Exportability team at the Department of Work and Pensions.

You must tell the office that pays your benefit that you’re going abroad, even if you’re only going temporarily. If you don’t, you’re committing benefit fraud.

Read our factsheet Moving abroad to find out more about your rights and responsibilities.

If you’re returning to the UK

Returning to the UK can affect the tax you pay, so you’ll need to contact the HMRC Residency Helpline (0300 200 3300 from within the UK, +44 135 535 9022 from outside the UK).

Before claiming benefits, you may have to pass a Habitual Residence Test, which looks at how long you have been in the UK and checks that you intend to remain settled in the UK. For more on this, see our factsheet Returning to England from abroad.

If you are subject to Immigration Control, seek specialist advice.

Next steps

You can find more information and relevant contact details at gov.uk/moving-or-retiring-abroad.

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