What is it?
Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) is a benefit you may be able to claim if you’re unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week.
The type of JSA most people can claim now is new-style JSA, which has replaced contribution-based JSA. It is linked to your national insurance contributions.
Universal Credit (UC) has replaced income-based JSA for most people.
You can only make a new claim for income-based JSA if you’re getting, or recently stopped getting, a benefit with a severe disability premium (SDP).
If you do not get an SDP within a benefit at present, and haven’t been getting an SDP recently, you will not be able to claim income-based JSA and will have to claim UC.
If you are unsure about this at all please contact the Financial Inclusion Team to speak to a member of the team before making a claim for UC.
The information below is all about new-style JSA.
Am I eligible?
You may qualify for new style JSA if all of the following apply:
- you’re unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week
- you have been working as an employee and paid Class 1 National Insurance in the last two to three years
- have paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions
- you do not have an illness or disability that limits your ability to work
- you’re under State Pension age
- you’re not in full-time education
- you live in the UK
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 usually need to be 18 or over but there are exceptions for some 16 and 17-year-olds. If you're 16 or 17 and need some advice about new style JSA you should contact your local Jobcentre Plus office.
You can find out where your local Jobcentre Plus office is by visiting the DWP website.
How much you’re entitled to depends on things like your age and whether you are claiming as a single person or as part of a couple.
The weekly amounts of new style JSA paid are:
- £61.05 if you are between 18 to 24 years old
- £77.00 if you are aged 25 or above
New-style JSA is paid fortnightly.
What will affect my payment?
Your savings and capital (or your partner’s savings, capital and income) are not taken into account when claiming new-style JSA.
However, your earnings and any payments you are getting from a pension may affect the amount you may receive.
How long will I get it for?
You can be paid new style JSA for a maximum of 182 days, which is about 6 months. After this, you will need to talk about your options with your work coach at your local Jobcentre Plus. You can find details of your local Jobcentre plus office by visiting the DWP website.
You may be able to claim new style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) with, or instead of UC, depending on your national insurance record and your circumstances, including savings or other income you have, who else lives with you and whether or not you rent your home.
If you do get UC along with new-style JSA time the fortnightly payments you get for new-style JSA are counted in full as income when the DWP calculate how much UC you will be paid per month.