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Benefits Abroad

If you move or travel overseas, you will not automatically receive benefits from the UK. Entitlement will depend on whether your stay abroad is temporary or permanent. You can continue to claim some benefits while you are abroad.

Claiming when abroad

You must let your Social Security/Jobs and Benefits office know that you are going abroad. If it is only a temporary move, then give the date you are planning to come back.

Your entitlement to benefits abroad also depends on which country you are going to. If you are going to an EEA country or one with a social security arrangement with the UK, you might get extra UK-based benefits. Or, you might be able to get a benefit which that country provides.

For most benefits provided by other countries under these arrangements, you will have to have paid National Insurance contributions in the UK. Form U1 is a record of UK National Insurance contributions which may help a claim for unemployment benefit in another EU country. You can get an application form for this and other related forms by contacting your local Social Security/Jobs and Benefits Office.

Winter Fuel Payments

You can claim these payments in certain circumstances if you live in another EEA country or Switzerland.

Income Support (IS)

If you are going abroad permanently you cannot get IS.

In certain circumstances you can get IS for four weeks or eight weeks of your absence abroad, even though one of the conditions of entitlement to IS is that you are resident in Northern Ireland.

You will need to provide evidence to determine if IS will be payable for any of the period that you are out of the country.

For further information, please contact your local Social Security/Jobs and Benefits office.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

Both ESA (C) and ESA (IR) can be paid abroad in certain circumstances.

If you are temporarily absent from the UK, you may be entitled to ESA (C) and ESA (IR) for the first four weeks of your absence.

For further information, please contact the ESA Centre.

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

Information about contribution-and income-based Jobseeker's Allowance if moving or living abroad.

Contribution-based JSA

You cannot usually get contribution-based JSA outside the EEA. However, you may be able to get contribution-based JSA in the EEA for up to three months if you:

  • are entitled to contribution-based JSA on the day you go abroad
  • have registered as a jobseeker for at least four weeks before you leave
  • are available for work and actively seeking work in Northern Ireland up to the day you leave
  • are going abroad to look for work
  • register for work at the equivalent of a Social Security/Jobs and Benefits office in the country you are going to
  • comply with the other country’s rules on registering and looking for work

Income-based JSA

If you are going abroad permanently you cannot get income-based JSA.

You cannot usually get income-based JSA if your stay abroad is only temporary.

Check with your local Social Security/Jobs and Benefits office if you need to fill in any forms before you go abroad.

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)

If you work for a UK employer in the EEA, you will usually be able to get SMP if you qualify under the general rules. If you work outside the EEA you may be able to get SMP if your employer pays NI contributions for you.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

If you work for a UK employer in the EEA, you will usually be able to get SSP. You will get this as long as you qualify under the general rules. To qualify if you work outside the EEA, your employer will need to be paying NI contributions for you.

Disability benefits

The European Court of Justice decided on October 2007 that certain UK disability benefits can be paid to some people living abroad. People would have to live in another country in the EEA or Switzerland. The decision affects:

  • Disability Living Allowance (care component only)
  • Attendance Allowance
  • Carer’s Allowance

The mobility component of Disability Living Allowance has not been affected by this judgement.

For more information about this decision see 'Disability benefits and the European Economic Area and Switzerland'.