Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
If this is your first visit, check out the community guide. You will have to Join us or Sign in before you can post.

Abroad more than 4 weeks.

yozyyozy Member Posts: 4 Listener
I'm on income related ESA, SG. It's for mental health. I'm a grown man 30+, still living at home. The environment at home is very toxic (younger, adolescent siblings.)

I was in Kraków, Poland for 11 days alone in 2020. I stayed in apartments. I've always dreamed of travelling. It was (relatively) great being out of that home environment, in my own space, far away. I felt a peace I'd not felt in a while.

In March just been, the arguments, the bullying, the situation at home just got too much. Technically it was (is) illegal to travel from the UK, unless certain exemptions.

I didn't care. I felt I had no choice to get away. I felt trapped otherwise. The incidents were impossible to avoid (especially with my OCD.) I booked a one way flight to Krakow and booked a cheap apartment for a month.

I'm aware that I'm allowed out of the country for up to 4 weeks. But... I don't want to return home just yet, because I know what awaits me. I want to stay here another 4 weeks, and carry on working on myself.

What will happen if I call the dwp and tell them I will be out the country for more than 4 weeks?

And I know some here are likely to be a bit snooty towards this next question but, what if I did not tell them? Would they even know?

I don't want to have my benefits stopped. It took me 2.5 year's of stress to finally get them reinstated in 2018 via a tribunal, after the WCA/DM wrongly deemed I was "fit for work."

What is my best option here?

Replies

  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,222 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @yozy - & welcome to the community. I appreciate your predicament, & understand you just want some peace, however I will just attempt to answer your query.
    You are supposed to report a change of circumstances whilst getting ESA, which includes going abroad for any length of time. See: https://www.gov.uk/employment-support-allowance/change-of-circumstances
    You can continue to claim ESA if you are abroad for 4 weeks (up to 26 weeks if going abroad for medical treatment & you get contribution based ESA). See: https://www.gov.uk/claim-benefits-abroad/illness-injury-benefits
    I certainly wouldn't advise not saying anything, as this could be construed as benefit fraud unfortunately, & your ESA could be stopped. See: https://www.gov.uk/claim-benefits-abroad
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,252 Pioneering
    chiarieds said:
    I certainly wouldn't advise not saying anything, as this could be construed as benefit fraud unfortunately, & your ESA could be stopped. See: https://www.gov.uk/claim-benefits-abroad
    And any money paid out would be recoverable together with possible fines (and possible criminal prosecution).
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,534 Disability Gamechanger
    Benefits aside, you will be in serious trouble for foreign travel, will probably have to isolate in a hotel at your own expense.
    Now to the benefits if normally you are going abroad for less than 28 days you should inform the DWP but if you provide proof e.g a copy of your return ticket then benefits should not be stopped, they might try to but they shouldn't, some people will argue this isn't the case but I have been told by 2 different DM's that it is.
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,205 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi and welcome

    I totally understand but it would be hard tie you to get back to uk without isolating in a covid isolation hotel at your cost and from what I heard that isnt cheap 

    Benefit fraud is a serious offence and not only could you be prosecuted but they can stop you claiming benefits for a long period after 

    In my opinion you have to play by the rules they may if you inform them make some adjustment as you are currently unable to get back but as you went when we were in lockdown they may not be as sympathetic 
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,252 Pioneering
    edited April 4
    janer1967 said: I totally understand but it would be hard tie you to get back to uk without isolating in a covid isolation hotel at your cost and from what I heard that isnt cheap 
    Poland is not on the red list travel ban red list and there is therefore no current requirement to stay in a government approved hotel when returning. The red list is of course subject to revision without notice.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/transport-measures-to-protect-the-uk-from-variant-strains-of-covid-19
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,205 Disability Gamechanger
    edited April 4
    @calcotti thanks for that my mistake 

    Notice however you didnt correct others that mentioned this? 
  • yozyyozy Member Posts: 4 Listener
    okay. If I call them up from here and say I will be staying here, what is likely to happen? Is it allowed, as long as I inform them? If not, will they SUSPEND and then resume when I get back? Or will they just stop my claim? I feel like honesty in these situations usually goes against you. What if the call centre worked get's it wrong and they do the wrong thing and it causes problems. I've read a few stories in forums like this of people telling the dwp only for them to mess up at their end.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,252 Pioneering
    edited April 4
    janer1967 said:
    @calcotti thanks for that my mistake 

    Notice however you didnt correct others that mentioned this? 
    Apologies, nothing personal. I only skimmed the thread and overlooked woodbine’s reference to it.

    You are right that it isn’t cheap for those who do have to use government hotels.

    Even so there are rules the poster would have to follow around Covid testing and isolating at home.
    https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus#when-you-arrive-in-the-uk

    it’s all quite confusing, I only know some of it because I needed to look it up for somebody else.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • janer1967janer1967 Member Posts: 11,205 Disability Gamechanger
    Regardless of if they mess up or not if you dont inform them you are committing fraud 

    They will likely suspend payments till you return depends how long it is 
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,252 Pioneering
    edited April 4
    yozy said:
    okay. If I call them up from here and say I will be staying here, what is likely to happen? Is it allowed, as long as I inform them? If not, will they SUSPEND and then resume when I get back? Or will they just stop my claim? 
    The ESA will stop. I think entitlement will end and it will not resume when you return and that you will have to claim UC instead. Your Support Group status will not entitle you to the LCWRA element from the start of UC because will be a gap between the ESA and UC claims.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,534 Disability Gamechanger

    It is illegal to travel abroad from the UK for holidays. Follow current COVID-19 rules where you live: EnglandScotlandWales and Northern Ireland.

    In England, you must have a permitted reason to travel abroad and complete the declaration form.

    Some countries have closed borders, and any country may further restrict travel or bring in new social distancing rules with little warning. Check our advice for each country you will visit or transit through.

    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,252 Pioneering
    woodbine said:

    It is illegal to travel abroad from the UK for holidays. 

    I didn’t highlight that because the poster appears to have already left the UK!
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • woodbinewoodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 4,534 Disability Gamechanger
    calcotti said:
    woodbine said:

    It is illegal to travel abroad from the UK for holidays. 

    I didn’t highlight that because the poster appears to have already left the UK!
    which probably makes matters worse?
    "Putting a child into care, isn't caring for a child" (T.Rhattigan)
  • chiariedschiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 9,222 Disability Gamechanger
    Hmm, yes, you are supposed to report a change of circumstances, such as going abroad beforehand, unless the OP could prove he was exempt, but probably worth mentioning.
    My daughter is a travel agent just now on furlough, but having to go through further training next week before returning to work shortly. Guidelines about travel are almost changing daily.
  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,213

    Scope community team

    Hello @yozy and welcome to the community. I'm sorry to read your home situation isn't positive. Have you got plans to eventually move out of the family home?
    Online Community Coordinator

    Talk to our chatbot and give us feedback on the community.
Sign in or join us to comment.