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 different 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.
- New style JSA – this is replacing contribution-based JSA and works in the same way.
- 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 can only apply for contribution-based and income-based JSA if you either:
- get the severe disability premium
- got the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it
If not, you can only apply for ‘new style’ JSA. New style JSA works in the same way as contribution-based JSA. You can claim new style JSA with Universal Credit, which has replaced income-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 help from the Council Tax Reduction Scheme.
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.
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.
For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 0300 303 44 98