If you are under pension age and looking for work, you might be able to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance to top up your income while you search for a job.
What is Jobseeker's Allowance?
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is a benefit for people who are actively looking for work.
There are 2 types of JSA:
- Contribution-based JSA – this is based on your National Insurance (NI) contributions; you can receive contribution-based JSA if you’ve paid enough NI contributions over the last 2 years
- Income-based JSA – this is based on your income and savings and you can receive it if you haven’t paid enough NI contributions.
You may get either of these types of JSA, or a combination of both.
If you’re eligible for Universal Credit, you may also be able to claim another type of contribution-based JSA, called ‘new style JSA’. New style JSA works in the same way as contribution-based JSA.
The type of JSA you can claim will be worked out by the Jobcentre Plus office.
If you receive income-based JSA, you’re automatically eligible to claim other benefits including Housing Benefit (if you rent your home), help with health costs and possibly Council Tax Reduction.
Can I get Jobseeker's Allowance?
To get Jobseeker's Allowance you must be:
- either unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week
- under State Pension age
- available and actively looking for work.
For income-based JSA, there are additional criteria:
- you must have less than £16,000 in capital
- your partner must be unemployed or working less than 24 hours a week.
- you must not be claiming Universal Credit or in an area where you must claim Universal Credit instead.
If you’re a couple and both out of work, you may have to make a joint claim.
How do I claim Jobseeker's Allowance?
Step 1: Make a claim for Jobseeker's Allowance
- contact your local Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 (textphone 0800 023 4888).
- Or Visit GOV.UK to make a claim online
Step 2: Attend an interview with Jobcentre Plus
Part of the application process requires you to attend an interview with Jobcentre Plus. You can bring a relative or friend to your interview, or contact Jobcentre Plus if you need support for a disability or health condition.
During your interview, the personal adviser will write out a Jobseeker’s Agreement (known as a ‘Claimant Commitment’) where you will set out the type of work you want and the steps you will take to find a job.
If your adviser feels you’re not keeping to this agreement then your benefits could be reduced or stopped.
What should I do next?
Use our benefits calculator to find out if you’re eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
If you’re eligible, contact your local Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 or make a claim online
What extra money are you entitled to?
On average, our benefits calculator identifies an extra £250 per month for each person. How much money could you claim?
For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444