Duncan Lewis


Asylum, Detention/ Fast Track

Managed Migration, Public Law

What benefits you can claim when abroad?

Date: (15 May 2013)    |    

Total Comments: (0)    |    Add Comments

Britons who travel or move abroad, or already living abroad can still claim some benefits but it depends on factors like where you are going and for how long.
Before leaving you need to tell your plans to the local Jobcentre Plus or the office that pays you the benefits. In case you are moving temporarily then you will have to inform when you’re coming back. And if you are moving or retiring abroad then you should tell the HMRC.
If you’re going to or are already living in a EEA (European Economic Area) country you could claim UK based benefits and benefits which are provided by the country you are going to. Switzerland is not a member of EEA but is treated as an EEA country for certain benefits.
There are some countries which have social security arrangements with the UK they provide certain benefits but it depends on the specific country.
The requirement to claim these is a statement to prove that you have paid National Insurance in the UK unless you’re claiming Winter Fuel Payment.
A state of National Insurance contributions has to be filled and sent to the National Contributions & Employer Office.
Unemployment benefits
You can also claim your State Pension abroad. Two types of Jobseekers Allowances (JSA) contributions based and income based. Income based JSA is not available abroad.
You can get contribution-based JSA in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland for up to 3 months if you:
• are entitled to it on the day you go abroad
• register as a jobseeker at least 4 weeks before you leave
• are looking for work in the UK up to the day you leave
• are going abroad to look for work
• register at the equivalent of a Jobcentre in the country you’re going to
• follow the other country’s rules on registering and looking for work
Confirm with your local Jobcentre Plus if there are any forms to fill out.
Some countries outside the EEA have social security agreements with the UK. And you can claim unemployment benefits if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions in the UK.
Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)
If you work for a UK employer in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, you can get SMP as long as you’re eligible.
If you work in a different country, you can still get SMP as long as your employer pays UK National Insurance contributions for you. You will have to talk to your employer about claiming SMP
Maternity Allowance
If you can’t get SMP, you might be eligible for Maternity Allowance and if so you can get Maternity Allowance in a EEA country or Switzerland and you may also claim it in countries with special agreement with the UK.
You will get information from your local Jobcentre Plus.
Child-related benefits
In a EEA country or Switzerland you can also get the following if you are eligible,
• Child Benefit
• Tax credits
• Guardian’s Allowance (you can claim this if you’re getting Child Benefit for a child whose parents have both died)
(Illness, injury and disability benefits)
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
You can get SSP if you’re eligible and either of the following applies:
• you work for a UK employer in the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland
• you work outside the EEA and your employer pays National Insurance contributions for you
Contact your employer to claim SSP.
Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
There are 2 types of ESA - income-related or contribution-based. You can get both of these for 4 weeks if you go abroad. If you go for more than 4 weeks but less than a year you an continue to get contribution based ESA for up to 26 weeks if your visit is for medical treatment for yourself or your child. It doesn’t matter which country you go. If you are going abroad for more than a year you can get contribution-based ESA in the EEA or Switzerland if you’re eligible and if you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions.
Industrial Injuries Benefit
If you’re getting Industrial Injuries Benefit for work-related accidents and illnesses, you can still get this in an EEA country. You will have to contact the office dealing with your benefit if you’re still in the UK or the International Pension Centre if you’re living abroad.

Benefits for carers and people with disabilities
If you’re going abroad temporarily
You can claim Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance (care component) for up to 26 weeks - possibly longer if you’re going abroad for medical treatment. You can carry on claiming Carer’s Allowance if you take up to 4 weeks holiday out of a 26-week period.
Tell the office that deals with your benefit that you’ll be away.
If you’re going abroad permanently to another EEA country or Switzerland
You may get Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance or Carer’s Allowance as appropriate if you or a family member are eligible and:
• work in the UK or pay National Insurance in the UK because of work
• have paid enough National Insurance to qualify for contribution-based benefits
• are getting State Pension, Industrial Injuries Benefit, contribution-based ESA or bereavement benefits
If you are already living in another EEA country or Switzerland you don’t need to have claimed in the UK before you go. But you must have a ‘genuine link with the UK social security system’, eg you’ve lived and/or worked in the UK. Contact the exportability team at the Pension, Disability and Carers service before you move abroad or if you want to claim from another EEA state or Switzerland.
You can claim Winter Fuel Payments if you if you meet the eligibility conditions for them or live in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland
The EEA includes all countries in the EU and Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. There is no need to prove you have claimed the same in the UK before you go. But have to show a genuine link with the UK social security system to claim eg you’ve lived and/or worked in the UK.
European Economic Area (EEA) countries
If you move to an EEA country, Switzerland or Gibraltar, and you’re eligible, you can claim the following:
• Bereavement Allowance
• Bereavement Payment
• Widowed Parent’s Allowance
These benefits could be claimed also in some countries outside the EEA The rate and eligibility criteria may vary between countries - find out what arrangements are in place.