Jobseekers Allowance

Most new claimants to income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance will have to claim Universal Credit  instead. The Jobcentre will tell you if you have to do this.

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is a benefit for people who are expected to look for work. If you do not have to look for work (for example, if you are a single parent), you should check whether you can claim income support instead. If you are sick or disabled, you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance instead of JSA.

To claim Jobseeker’s Allowance you must:

  • Be below state pension age (you can check this on GOV.UK).
  • Be available for work.
  • Be actively seeking work.
  • Have a current claimant commitment or jobseeker’s agreement. This sets out the steps you will take to look for work.
  • Not be working 16 hours or more per week.
  • Not be a full time student.

There are three types of JSA, ‘new style’, contribution-based and income-based. You can only get the contribution-based or income-based JSA if you get the severe disability premium (or got it within the last month and you’re still eligible for it) and in addition meet the conditions above. For new style JSA you will need to meet the conditions above. If you are eligible for Universal Credit you may get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of the new style JSA. You will be able to find more information on claiming JSA on the GOV.UK website.

If you are a single parent on Jobseeker’s Allowance 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 Employment and Support Allowance instead.

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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