Jobseeker’s Allowance or JSA is a benefit you can claim if you are unemployed and are already an existing claimant. You must work less than 16 hours per week, and you are available and looking for full time work.
JSA can be 'new style' JSA/Contribution-based. You are eligible for 'new style' JSA if you have paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the two previous tax years and you will receive it for up to six months.
If you do not meet the NI contribution conditions, you will have to apply for a top-up of Universal Credit for help with your rent. This is means-tested, therefore any income and capital or savings worth £6,000 or more will affect the amount of benefit you get.
You will not receive any Universal Credit if you have capital or savings worth more than £16,000. People living in your household can affect the amount of Universal Credit you are entitled to. It’s also worth noting that you can get help with prescription charges if you get Universal Credit.
What is a claimant commitment?
When you apply for JSA, you have to sign a claimant commitment. This explains what work-related activities you have to do to get JSA and will explain what will happen if you do not do what you agreed to do.
You will get a work coach at the job centre, who will make your claimant commitment with you at a face-to-face meeting.
You should think about how your mental health affects you and how it may affect you being available for work, and you can ask for your claimant commitment to suit your needs.
This may include pay, hours and travel time as long as they are reasonable, and you should include any issues in your claimant commitment.
You can ask to speak to the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local Jobcentre Plus, as they could help you with your claim and job search.
Can I claim JSA?
You can claim JSA if you:
- Are over 18 and under pension age,
- Are available for full-time work,
- Are actively looking for work,
- Are not in full-time education,
- Agree to the claimant commitment, and
- Are in the UK.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) treat you as being unavailable for work if you:
- Get maternity allowance or statutory maternity pay,
- Are on paternity leave, shared parental or adoption leave, or
- A prisoner on temporary release.
Can I work and claim JSA?
You can claim JSA if you work less than 16 hours a week and the DWP will deduct any money you earn from your job from your JSA – they can ignore income of up to £5.
This means the DWP will not take up to £5 of your earnings into account when they work out how much to pay you. Sometimes, you will be able to get up to £20 disregard, but this will depend on the type of job that you do.
Will my JSA stop?
You will be able to claim 'New Style' CB-JSA for up to six months as long as you meet the JSA criteria. There is no time limit for Universal Credit and you will be allowed to claim it for as long as you meet the criteria.
- What you're entitled to
- Universal Credit
- Employment and Support Allowance
- Jobseeker’s Allowance
- Income Support
- Incapacity Benefit
- Severe Disablement Allowance
- Statutory Sick Pay
- Working Tax Credits
- Personal Independence Payment
- Housing Benefit
- Support for Mortgage Interest
- Council Tax: Exemptions and support
- Social Fund
- Next steps