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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 Support (also known as Council Tax Reduction).


How much could I get?

The amount you get will depend on your age, income and savings.

You could get:

  • up to £73.10 if you’re single,
  • or up to £114.85 a week if you’re a couple.

You may get less if you have a part-time job or a private pension

  • Use our benefits calculator to find out if you’re entitled to JSA and how much you could get.

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.

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

Last updated: Oct 13 2017

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