Benefit thieves going abroad

Itís not if we catch you, itís when

There is no hiding place for anyone who thinks they can get away with stealing benefits while they are abroad.

If you go abroad

Remember – if you claim benefits and go abroad, for any amount of time, you must tell us before you go as it could affect your benefits.

Below are a few examples.

  • Income Support – example

Sarah is taking the kids on holiday to France for six weeks this summer to stay with her sister. Because she is on Income Support and staying abroad for more than four weeks this will affect her claim and she must tell her local benefits office before she goes.

  • Jobseeker’s Allowance – example

Martin is on Jobseeker’s Allowance and decides to go off on holiday with this mates to Ibiza. If he doesn't tell us he's going, he's committing benefit fraud. If you are on  Jobseeker’s Allowance, you need to let us know straight away that you are  going abroad for any amount of time – even if it’s for a holiday – as this may affect your claim.

  • Pension Credit – example

It’s October and Elsie and Reg are off to Benidorm for six months to spend winter in the sun. Because they receive Pension Credit and are away for more than 13 weeks this will affect their claim and they need to let us know they are going.

These are just examples of how going abroad might affect certain benefits. For more advice on how this applies to you, contact the office that pays your benefits.

If you go abroad and continue to claim benefits you’re not entitled to it could mean prosecution, imprisonment and even the confiscation of your home and possessions.

Benefit theft Ė we want to hear about it

It’s estimated that between April 2010 and March 2011, £79m was lost as a result of benefit fraud overpayments to claimants who did not tell us they were going abroad for longer than the rules allow. That means British taxpayers are financing the fraudsters’ overseas visits.

If you know of anyone committing benefit fraud, contact the National Benefit Fraud Hotline on 0800 854 440. Your call is free and confidential. Lines are open Monday to Friday 8.00am to 6.00pm.

Or you can report a benefit thief online.

Benefit thieves going abroad. Itís not if we catch you, itís when.

Woman with sign - Prosecuted