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Can I Claim Jobseekers Allowance When Overseas?

By: Emma Eilbeck BA (hons) - Updated: 12 Sep 2018 | comments*Discuss
 
Jobseeker’s Allowance Abroad Work

The shock of being made redundant and the emotional impact it may have on you might tempt you to throw caution to the wind and get away for a few weeks, or even months.

Just because you intend to start claiming or are already claiming jobseeker’s allowance it does not mean that you have to hide away and confine yourself to your quarters.

In some circumstances you may be eligible to still claim jobseekers allowance from overseas, whether your trip is for a holiday or seeking work.

These few questions should help you decide whether you are eligible for jobseeker’s allowance abroad.

1) Have You Already Started Claiming Jobseeker’s allowance in the UK?

  • A) Yes, I registered over four weeks ago
  • B) I only registered a couple of weeks ago
  • C) I have not yet registered but intend to

2) Do You Know What Type of Allowance You Are Entitled to?

  • A) I am entitled to contribution-based jobseeker’s allowance
  • B) I am not sure yet
  • C) I am only entitled to income-based jobseeker’s allowance

3) Why Are You Going Abroad?

  • A) To look for work
  • B) To look for work but also a holiday
  • C) A holiday

4) Which Country Are You Going to?

  • A) The country is within the European Economic Area
  • B) I’m not sure if it is classed outside the EEA
  • C) It is outside the EEA

5) How Long Do You Plan To Go Abroad For?

  • A) Under three months
  • B) Around three months
  • C) Over three months

Your Answers

Mostly A – Your Claim Should Not Be Affected

From your answers it sounds like nothing should be holding you back from getting on a plane and discovering what a new country has to offer.

Contributions based jobseeker’s allowance is much easier to claim while overseas because it is based on how much National Insurance you have paid in the last two tax years, so in many ways you are entitled to it.When you register with your local job centre they should tell you whether you are entitled to income based or contributions based allowance.

You will need to register for jobseeker’s allowance at least four weeks before you travel abroad and be able to work up until the day you leave the country. You will only be able to claim for up to three months and the country must fall within the EEA.

Although in some cases it is possible to claim the allowance if you are not looking or work, but one of the first visits you make abroad should be to the country’s local job centre where you can register for work and start claiming the allowance.

Mostly B – It Might Be Too Early To Start Packing Your Bags

It sounds like there are still a few question marks over your employment situation and your intentions when you move overseas.

If you have not registered or been claiming jobseeker’s allowance for at least four weeks you might need to put your plans on hold, as to claim abroad you will have need you have been claiming in the UK for at least four weeks. You will also need to find out exactly what type of allowance you are entitled to, as income based allowance is very rarely transferable to another country.

Whether you are going for holiday or for work, you must make yourself known to the country and check it falls inside the EEA to be able to claim.

Mostly C – You Might Want To Unpack Your Bags

It sounds like you are going abroad for more of a holiday then to actively seek out work. If you have been told in the UK you are not entitled to income-based jobseeker’s allowance it is almost 99% certain that you will not be able to claim jobseeker’s allowance abroad.

You should also rule out any possibility of being able to claim the benefit if you plan to travel outside of the EEA. If you have just been made redundant you should look at your finances carefully to check that you can afford to travel overseas.

Looking for work in another country doesn’t have to be scary. If you have had enough of the depressing UK climate and seek something new it might be time to think about looking for work abroad. If you are entitled to contributions-based jobseeker’s allowance you will have a timeframe of about three months in which you can claim the allowance overseas.

Jobseeker’s allowance may not be as substantial as a wage, but it can be a valuable accessory is you are out for work overseas.

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[Add a Comment]
What do people at jobcentres do exactly ,do they everactually find people jobs.A friend of mine was once 5 mind late for an appointment and was sanctioned.however when she was early for an appointment and the person in the jobcentre kept her waitingfor 20 minutes ,that apparently was ok. Also re having to sign off if you go abroad ,if a holiday was booked a year before and the person was in employment at the time of booking ,how are they supposed to know they will be out of a job a year in advance,surely they should be entitled to have some enjoyment in their lives and not be penalised for it
Tinkerbell - 12-Sep-18 @ 9:29 PM
Lobster - Your Question:
I am an American who has a friend who is on job seeking allowance in the UK and he routinely has to report to the job's center. I can get him a ticket to come to the United States and would like him to stay four two or three weeks. He is concerned as to how this will affect his benefits. Obviously, if he is able to continue claiming them, it's not a big deal, but if he isn't: I don't understand exactly what that means. Can he take "a leave of absence," not collect job seeking benefits during his time in the US, but register and start collecting them for the weeks after his return. Would someone help me? The 1996 language is pretty clear that Holidays, not excluding international ones, are included, but I suppose its possible its been revised since then. I believe he's only ever been a student before so I'm not sure what type of "Job seeking allowance" he is getting but I know there are two sorts and while I think I understand the difference (Need based vs. Contribution based) the names confuse me. Could someone please advise.

Our Response:
The purpose of Jobseekers Allowance is that the person claiming the benefit must be immediately available for work. The claimant also has to spend a specific amount of time each day looking for work via the Jobcentre Plus website. If a person is on JSA, they can be treated as actively seeking work while on holiday for up to two weeks a year. However, your friend must be still in Great Britain and must be able to receive information about job offers while he is away. As the rules have tightened even further - your friend would have to enquire directly about whether he would lose benefits altogether if he decided to leave the country while claiming.
RedundancyExpert - 6-Apr-17 @ 1:49 PM
I am an American who hasa friend who is on job seeking allowance in the UK and he routinely has to report to the job's center. I can get him a ticket to come to the United States and would like him to stay four two or three weeks. He is concerned as to how this will affect his benefits. Obviously, if he is able to continue claiming them, it's not a big deal, but if he isn't: I don't understand exactly what that means. Can he take "a leave of absence," not collect job seeking benefits during his time in the US, but register and start collecting them for the weeks after his return. Would someone help me? The 1996 language is pretty clear that Holidays, not excluding international ones, are included, but I suppose its possible its been revised since then. I believe he's only ever been a student before so I'm not sure what type of "Job seeking allowance" he is getting but I know there are two sorts and while I think I understand the difference (Need based vs. Contribution based) the names confuse me. Could someone please advise.
Lobster - 6-Apr-17 @ 1:19 AM
If you are going abroad for a holiday, including Europe, EVEN FOR JUST ONE DAY, you have to sign offJSA and then do a rapid reclaim for JSA when you get back! The 2 week holiday rule only applies when you holiday in the UK!
gbhxu - 20-Mar-15 @ 7:18 AM
Ive been on jsa for near a year can i go to jersey c.i for two weeks without it being stopped.
caz - 26-Jul-14 @ 8:37 AM
I currently claim jsa and have done for 2 years ,I have been asked by a friend who has payed for an air ticket to malta ,can I claim jsa for the 2 weeks im away? Im due to sign on , on the 31st of May, however I fly on the 29th of May.
dazza - 23-May-11 @ 4:07 PM
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