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Wednesday, 2 September 2009


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 office (or Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus 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 a European Economic Area (EEA) country or one with a social security agreement 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 (NI) contributions in the UK. Form E301 is a record of UK National Insurance contributions which may help a claim for unemployment benefit in another EU country. You can download an application form for this and other related forms using the link below.

Winter Fuel Payments

You can claim these payments in certain circumstances. To qualify, you must have been entitled to the payment when you were living in the UK. You must be moving or have moved to another EEA country, Switzerland or Gibraltar.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Information about contribution-based and income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) if you are 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 Great Britain up to the day you leave
  • are going abroad to look for work
  • register for work at the equivalent of a Jobcentre in the country you are going to
  • follow the other country's system for claiming benefit

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 Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus office if you need to fill in any forms before you go abroad.

Statutory Maternity Pay

If you work for a UK employer in the EEA, you will usually be able to get Statutory Maternity Pay (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 National Insurance contributions for you.

Statutory Sick Pay

If you work for a UK employer in the EEA, you will usually be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (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 National Insurance contributions for you.

Disability benefits

The European Court of Justice decided in 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 European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. The decision affects:

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

For more information about this decision, see 'Taking disability benefits to other European countries'.

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