Returning to the sun? Why you should let your UK benefit office know!
With the usual heat waves hitting Spain this summer, many expat residents will have chosen to return to the UK during July and August to escape the high temperatures. Now that autumn is here, many are beginning to return to Spain to enjoy the milder weather. Some expats may be intending to spend the entire winter here, others just a few weeks or months. But however long your stay, it is important that if you receive a UK benefit and are going abroad, even for just a short time, you notify the office that pays your benefit before you leave for Spain.
In fact any change in your circumstances, such as moving in with a partner, starting work, or even moving house, should be reported immediately to the relevant authority paying your benefit or pension.
Spending time out of the UK, whether for a holiday or to live, doesn’t necessarily mean your benefits will be affected. But if you even go abroad for just a few weeks, failing to notify your local benefit office could be considered an offence and could lead to prosecution, imprisonment and even the confiscation of your home and possessions.
More information on UK benefits in general and on which ones can and cannot be received whilst living in Spain can be found at www.gov.uk.
And if you suspect someone you know of committing UK benefit fraud whilst living in Spain – taking public money that should be destined for others more needy than themselves – please do call the free and confidential Benefit Fraud Hotline in Spain on 900 554 440. Or n fill in the online form at www.dwp.gov.uk/benefit-thieves-spain . You can help investigators close the net on benefit thieves.
For more information about living in Spain, go to www.ukinspain.fco.gov.uk