How Universal Credit can muck up your holiday

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On first glance, Universal Credit rules look deceptively promising: you are able to be out of the country for as long as a month. BUT, there is no holiday from all the things you have committed to do. And, while you might be able to argue that you can search and apply for jobs on the computer wherever you are, you are expected to be able to attend a job interview immediately. This could be a problem even if you are only somewhere else in the UK.

This holiday rule includes people who are in low-paid work that pays less than the equivalent of 35 hours a week on the minimum wage, and who have to look for more or better paid work in order to qualify for help from Universal Credit. People have been  caught out after assuming that they are still entitled to their statutory holidays. One way of getting round this, if you can afford it, is to sign off Universal Credit and then sign on again when you get home; but you not only lose the benefit for the time you are away, you also have to go through the initial waiting period all over again.

If you have been found unfit for work and have no tasks you have to do, then going away should not affect your benefit. If you have committed to do a few tasks in preparation for future work, you might be able to get your GP to write and say that a holiday would be more beneficial to your recovery.

Not telling the DWP that you are going away is always a risk – especially if you are a Facebook user! And if you have been found to be keeping things from them once, they may chase you on every detail in future.

And of course there’s still the problem of paying for a holiday…

Good luck!

(Strange how the DWP stress that being unemployed should be like looking for work, with 35 hour a week jobsearch and payment in arrears, but forget about the statutory holiday bit…)

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3 thoughts on “How Universal Credit can muck up your holiday

  1. You can thank Iain Duncan-Smith for the ‘no-holiday’ clause. It turned his stomach to see JSA claimants getting two weeks holiday a year under the old system.

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