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Jobseeker's Allowance

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 our Team for advice before making a claim,

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:

  • £71.70 if you are between 18 to 24 years old
  • £90.50 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.

How do I apply?

You should apply for new style JSA online by visiting the DWP website.

To apply online you’ll need to have the following information:

  • national insurance number
  • bank or building society account details
  • employment details for the past 6 months, including your employers’ contact details and dates you worked with them
  • a statement letter for any private pension(s) you have

Once you apply online you’ll get a text to confirm that your application has been submitted. You do not need to contact the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

You normally need to attend an interview and then regularly sign on at your local Jobcentre Plus office but you do not need to attend any interviews or appointments at the moment because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Can I challenge the decision?

You can challenge a decision if you are unhappy with it. To find out how to do this please refer to our challenging decisions page.


Page last updated:
25 Apr 2024

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