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Jobseekers Allowance UK : How to claim the benefit?

Jobseekers Allowance in the UK (JSA) is a benefit that is accessible to individuals who are currently pursuing a job. A fresh claim for New Style JSA is now the sole option.
The National Insurance payments from your previous two years lead to the calculation of JSA. You can claim it alone or with Universal Credit.
If you receive contribution-based or income-based JSA, you may continue to do so as long as you meet the eligibility requirements. However, if you get income-based JSA, you will ultimately be transferred to Universal Credit.

Eligibility requirements for Jobseekers allowance in the UK

In order to get the Jobseekers allowance in the UK, you must satisfy the following requirements.

  • you must have worked as an employee
  • you must have made Class 1 National Insurance payments in the past two to three years (National Insurance credits can also count)
  • be 18 or older (there are certain exceptions if you’re 16 or 17 – get in touch with the nearest Jobcentre Plus for guidance)
  • be under the State Pension age
  • not be in full-time education
  • be eligible and available for employment
  • not be working right now or working fewer than 16 hours a week on average
  • not have a sickness or disability that prevents you from working
  • be in England, Scotland, or Wales

While receiving JSA, you must take reasonable measures to find employment as agreed with your work coach. Your savings, as well as your partner’s income and savings, will have no effect on your claim.
For up to 182 days, you may earn ‘new style’ JSA (about 6 months). After that, you may discuss your alternatives with your work coach.

How to Calculate the Amount you will receive

If you are qualified for new style Jobseekers allowance in the UK, you may get a ‘personal allowance’ of up to:

• £59.20 if you’re between the ages of 18 and 24.
• £74.70 if you’re above the age of 25

The actual amount you get will depend on your circumstances; for example, if you work part-time or have a pension, your payment may be lower.

How to claim the allowance

Step 1: Make a claim

  • contact your local Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 (textphone 0800 023 4888)
  • or visit GOV.UK to make a claim online.

The second step is to schedule an interview with Jobcentre Plus.

You have to attend an interview with Jobcentre Plus as part of the application process. You are welcome to bring a family or friend to your interview, or you may call Jobcentre Plus if you need assistance due to a disability or health problem.
The personal advisor will draw out a Jobseeker’s Agreement (also known as a ‘Claimant Commitment’) during your interview in which you will outline the sort of employment you desire and the actions you will take to get it.
If your advisor determines that you are not adhering to the terms of the agreement. Your benefits may decrease or even terminated.

How will you receive payments

The Government benefits and pensions, as well as allowances, are normally deposited into a bank, building society, or credit union account.

The start date of your JSA may be delayed up to 7 days after you submit your application. Moreover, the first payment can delay up to 2 weeks after that.
It is possible that your initial payment will not be for the whole amount.

Following your first payment, you will receive the further payments every two weeks, and they will be for the whole amount due.

Jobseekers allowance Vs Universal Credit

Jobseeker’s Allowance was phased out in favour of Universal Credit. The ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance is available if you have accrued enough National Insurance payments. Your partner’s earnings or savings does not affect the amount of money you receive.

You can claim the New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance for a maximum of 182 days. Depending on your circumstances, you may be able to claim it alone or in tandem with other benefits such as Universal Credit.

The amount of your New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance payment will be deducted from the amount of your Universal Credit payment. If you get both at the same time. Therefore, you will not receive any extra money.

If you get ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will be eligible to receive class 1 National Insurance credits. It is possible that you will just get these credits and not any money in certain instances.

You can read more about universal credit on our article here. Feel free to write to us for any further queries and clarifications.

Sidharth Bharthan Menon
CEO, taxtotal​