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Jobseeker's Allowance

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.

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?

For more information call Age Cymru Advice on 08000 223 444

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