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Home Advice for Parents & CarersBenefits for parents Benefits you can claim if you are made redundant

Benefits you can claim if you are made redundant

Last updated: 20 Oct 2021

If you’re at risk of redundancy or have been made redundant you may be worried about your financial situation. This article provides a guide to what support Jobcentre Plus may be able to offer you and what benefits you may be able to claim.

If you have general questions about redundancy you might want to check our page on redundancy rights.

At risk of redundancy

If you have been told that you are at risk of being made redundant, or you have recently been made redundant, the Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service may be able to provide you with support.

You can contact the Rapid Response Service if you:

  • suspect you’re going to be made redundant
  • have been informed of redundancy but are still in your notice period
  • were made redundant less than 13 weeks ago

Send your email enquiry to rrs.enquiries@dwp.gov.uk and include your postcode in the email.

The Rapid Response Service is designed to provide local support, giving you access to the Jobcentre Plus and its partners, as soon as redundancy looks likely. The idea is to intervene early, with a view finding you a new job before your old job ends.

The Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service may be able to assist with:

  • Finding a new job or organising work trials
  • Writing or updating your CV
  • Finding suitable training courses
  • Additional financial support to help with things such as travel to work expenses and childcare
    Information about benefits

The Government Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has provided a helpful video – Redundancy: What financial help can I get?

You can also get help from:

More information about the help and financial support available to you if you are made redundant, is available from the Department for Work and Pensions.

Please also visit our page on redundancy for more information on your rights during redundancy. You can also find more information on the Acas website.

Claiming benefits

If you have been made redundant or been told that you will soon be made redundant, and are concerned about how you will cope financially, there are 3 main types of financial support that could be available to you:


New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (NS JSA)

You may be entitled to NS JSA if you are unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week and have paid sufficient Class 1 National Insurance contributions in the last 2-3 years. Class 1 National Insurance contributions are the type you pay if you are employed and National Insurance is deducted directly from your wages.

You will not be eligible if you were self-employed and only paid Class 2 National Insurance contributions (unless you were working as a share fisherman or a volunteer development worker).

You must also:

  • Be 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 or 17 – contact Jobcentre Plus for advice)
  • Be below state pension age
  • Be available for and actively seeking work
  • Not be a full time student

While you receive JSA, you’ll need to take reasonable steps to look for work as agreed with your work coach. If you are a single parent you may be able to restrict your availability for work to school hours only so that you are able to look after your children. You may also be able to restrict your availability because of your physical or mental condition, but do consider first whether you should claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance instead.

NS JSA is not affected by household income so your savings and your partner’s income and savings will not affect your claim. However, if you have pension income this may be taken into account.

You can get NS JSA for up to 182 days (about 6 months) – after this you can talk to your work coach about your options.

You can get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of NS JSA. There is no financial advantage to claiming NS JSA at the same time as Universal Credit because your Universal Credit will be reduced by your NS JSA amount.

You can find out how to apply on the government website.


New Style Employment and Support Allowance (NS ESA)

You may be entitled to NS ESA if you are unable to work due to a health condition or disability and have paid sufficient Class 1 or Class 2 National Insurance contributions in the last 2-3 years. Class 1 National Insurance contributions are the type you pay if you are employed and National Insurance is deducted directly from your wages. Class 2 National Insurance contributions are the type you pay if you are self-employed.

To claim you will need to have a fit note (sometimes called ‘sick note’ or ‘doctor’s note’) but can begin making your claim before you have one. If you have only just become ill you can self–certify for the first 7 days.

You must also:

  • Be 16 or over
  • Be below state pension age

NS ESA is not affected by household income so your savings and your partner’s income and savings will not affect your claim. However, if you have pension income this may be taken into account.

After you claim NS ESA you will be contacted by DWP to discuss the way your illness or disability affects your ability to work and provide further medical evidence to support your claim. You may be required to undergo a work capability assessment in which case you will be sent a capability for work questionnaire and may also be asked to attend a medical assessment.

After your claim has been assessed you will either be found fit for work or placed in one of two groups:

  • The work-related activity group (you cannot work now, but can prepare to work in the future, for example by writing a CV)
  • The support group (you cannot work now and you’re not expected to prepare for work in the future)

If you’re in the work-related activity group

You must attend regular interviews with a work coach. There is a time limit which means you can only claim NS ESA for 365 days if you are in the work-related activity group so your claim will end after 365 days.

If you’re in the support group

You do not have to attend interviews with a work coach but you can tell your work coach if you’d like to take part in work-related activities. There is no time limit to how long you can claim NS ESA if you are in the support group so your claim will continue for as long as you meet the entitlement conditions.

You can get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of NS ESA. There is no financial advantage to claiming NS ESA at the same time as Universal Credit because your Universal Credit will be reduced by your NS ESA amount.

You can find out how to apply on the government website.

Universal Credit

You may be eligible for Universal Credit if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner less than £16,000 in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

Universal Credit replaces 6 existing benefits and tax credits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Working Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If you are on one of these benefits being made redundant does not mean you will have to claim Universal Credit. You may have a choice whether to remain on your existing benefits or switch to Universal credit instead, but the DWP will not automatically move you over to Universal Credit, you have to actually make the claim yourself. If you are in this situation you should get further advice as claiming Universal Credit could make you worse off.

It is really important to note that if you do claim Universal Credit your Tax Credits and any other benefits that Universal Credit replaces will end and you won’t be able to go back on these old benefits again in future.

Universal Credit is made up of different elements depending on your circumstances and can include elements for children, childcare and rent. If you have a partner you need to claim jointly and their income and savings are taken into account.

There is no set amount of Universal Credit you will get as it all depends on your financial situation. It is designed to be a flexible benefit so can adjust if your circumstances change. It is paid monthly in arrears and it takes around 5 weeks for your first payment to come through, although you can get an advance of your first payment sooner.

There are no minimum number of hours you need to work in order to claim Universal Credit, however, it’s important to understand that it’s a benefit that has work-related requirements, unless you are unable to work due to long-term illness or disability, caring for a disabled person or responsible for a child under 3.

Redundancy payments and Universal Credit

With Universal Credit, redundancy payments are treated as ‘capital’. Capital includes things such as savings and investments.

If you and your partner (if applicable) have capital (including savings) over £16,000 you will not be able to get Universal Credit. Capital between £6,000 and £16,000 is treated as generating income, and will reduce your Universal Credit payment. Capital below £6,000 will not affect your Universal Credit payments.

You can apply for Universal Credit online

Other financial support

Depending on your circumstances there may be other benefits you can claim. If you are a carer you may be entitled to Carer’s Allowance. It is worth checking with your local council if you can get Council Tax Reduction to help with your council tax. You may be entitled to free school meals or help with health costs.

The best way for you to check all of the benefits you are entitled to is to use a free benefits calculator.


This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.

If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.

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The information on the law contained on this site is provided free of charge and does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. If you are not a solicitor, you are advised to obtain specific legal advice about your case or matter and not to rely solely on this information. Law and guidance is changing regularly in this area.