Tourists on the support must notify the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) whenever they intend to go away. A holiday can be for up to one month but travellers must stick to the conditions of the Claimant Commitment they agreed to when first applying. It often includes having to show evidence of looking for work, such as a list of jobs they have applied for.
The DWP says claimants must carry on meeting the conditions of their claim while on holiday, including any requirement to look for work. That includes putting a CV together, applying to vacancies, and attending any interviews that crop up – and this has to continue while the tourist is on holiday.
And a spokesperson for the government department said “it is a possibility” tourists may be asked to come back to continue their search for work. It may be because an interview date or job start date is offered while they are away and cannot be rearranged.
The DWP advisor told Birmingham Live: “Claimants must prioritise looking for work and taking up a job.
“And a lot of claimants who have been abroad have managed to do that.”
“People must comply with their Claimant Commitment and still have to do that while abroad. If a claimant is in an intensive work search regime, they are expected to spend 35 to 37 hours a week looking for work.”
Universal Credit can also be stopped by DWP if the claimant exceeds the one-month holiday period.
The official added: “There are no limits to the number of periods away of up to one month that are allowed in each year. But when any period of time abroad exceeds a month, we are notified and have to decide if the extended absence can be approved.”
The Universal Credit won’t be terminated altogether so the claimant won’t have to start a claim all over again and wait another five weeks, but they won’t get any benefit payment covering the period you’ve been away.
In some situations, an extended absence will be approved by the DWP and then requirements to look for work can be switched off. These include bereavements and medical treatment.
In the case of the death of a close relative such as a partner, child or a young person the claimant is responsible for, while they are abroad, these rules can be suspended for up to two months if it is unreasonable to expect the claimant to return home within the month.
If a claimant is receiving medical treatment or is accompanying their partner, child or qualifying young person who is receiving such treatment, the DWP can consider agreeing to an extended absence for up to six months. If the claimant can provide evidence of this, their work-related requirements can be switched off while they are abroad.
Work requirements can also be switched off for Crown servants and HM Armed Forces who are posted overseas, and for offshore workers (such as those on oil rigs).