Universal Credit claimants, as well as those on other benefits, have been warned their payments could be stopped if they fail to notify authorities about key changes to their circumstances.

Those in receipt of Universal Credit are being alerted that they must inform the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) if they are planning to travel abroad this year.

Government advice to claimants outlines what changes people in receiving Universal Credit must tell the DWP about.

Failing to alert the DWP of key changes to your circumstances could lead to Universal Credit claimants losing their benefit entitlement and having payments either paused or stopped altogether.

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Included in the changes that must be reported is leaving the country, or planning to leave the country.

Even if you are leaving for an extended holiday rather than a permanent move, it is a change you must alert the DWP of.

Government advice says: “If you go abroad, you can continue to get Universal Credit for one month.

“You must:

  • be eligible for Universal Credit when you’re going abroad
  • remain eligible for it while you’re abroad
  • tell your work coach that you’re going

“You cannot get Universal Credit if you’re moving abroad permanently.

“You cannot apply for Universal Credit if you’re already abroad.”

In some instances, you will be able to receive Universal Credit while abroad for up to six months.

They include:

  • you go abroad for medical treatment
  • you go abroad for a period of recovery that’s been approved by a medical professional (also known as ‘approved convalescence’)
  • your partner or child is going abroad for medical treatment or ‘approved convalescence’ and you’re going with them

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claimants must also alert the DWP if they are planning to leave the country for more than four weeks at a time.

The Government’s PIP handbook explains: “This change may affect the claimant’s entitlement to PIP.

“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 handbook, which can be viewed here, adds: “The PIP decision letter gives details of how and when the claimant needs to tell DWP about any changes in their circumstances.

“We need to know if the claimant’s condition, the amount of help they need or their circumstances change. This is because it may change how much PIP they can get.

“It is important the claimant tells DWP straight away about any changes in their life that could affect their benefit.

“Based on these changes their benefit may go up, go down, stay the same or it may stop. If the claimant is overpaid, they will normally have to repay the money.

“Failure to tell DWP about any of these changes may result in prosecution.”

If you are planning a trip, you can inform the DWP on 0800 121 4433 to report a change of circumstances.