British citizens who travel or live abroad often lose their entitlement to British benefits. Whether or not you lose your benefits will depend on the purpose and length of your absence.
Entitlement to Benefits Abroad
Before moving abroad, you should let your local Jobcentre or Jobcentre Plus office know if your move. If the move is just a temporary one, be sure to provide the date of your return.
British citizens moving to another European Economic Area (EEA) or a country with a reciprocal social security agreement with the UK could even be entitled to extra UK-based benefits. If you do not qualify for these extra benefits, you may be entitled to apply for benefits from the country you are moving to.
National Insurance (NI) Contributions
In order to be entitled to most benefits from other countries under the reciprocal social security benefits agreement with the UK, you must show that you have paid National Insurance in the UK. Form E301 is a record of all National Insurance contributions you have made in the UK, which can help you when applying for unemployment benefits in another EU country.
Do Women Receive Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP)?
Women who work for a UK employer within the EEA are usually entitled to receive Statutory Maternity Pay under the general rules, if they qualify. But if you are working outside the EEA for a UK employer, you may still receive Statutory Maternity Pay, provided your employer is paying National Insurance contributions for you.
Is Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Covered?
Employees who work for a UK-based employer in the EEA usually qualify for Statutory Sick Pay as long as they qualify for this benefit under the general rules. Those who work outside the EEA qualify if their employer is making National Insurance contributions.
Do Disability Benefits Continue?
A 2007 ruling of the European Court of Justice stated that certain UK disability benefits could still be paid to those living abroad in another EEA country, or in Switzerland. If you have been receiving Disability Living Allowance (care component only is covered), Attendance Allowance or Carer’s Allowance, you will continue to receive these benefits, provided you still qualify for these disability benefits.
If you are planning to move abroad to another EEA country, or a country with a reciprocal social security agreement with the UK, some of your British benefits will continue. These include continued entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Sick Pay, some disability benefits and others. For a more comprehensive guide to benefits that are affected, refer to the Directgov Benefits page for more details.