How many hours can I study and still claim JSA ?
Most full-time students in higher education can’t claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) during term-time or holidays. However, lone parents can claim JSA during the summer holidays, as can someone whose partner is also a full-time student if one or both of you is responsible for a child. However, you must be ‘available for and actively seeking work’.
Whether or not you’re classed as a full-time student depends on your age, the level of course you’re taking, where in the UK you live, and who funds the course.
If you’re aged between 16 and 20 and in ‘relevant education’ (generally this means you are studying for qualifications up to A-level), ‘full-time’ means 12 or more hours study a week.
If you have over 16 hours a week of teaching time and your course is funded by the Education Funding Agency, the Chief Executive for Skills Funding, the Welsh Assembly Government or Scottish minsters, then it will also be classed as full-time.
There is no set hours limit for other courses, so the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Local Authority deciding your benefit claim will make their own decision. They will look at how the course is defined by the college, but you can challenge this if you disagree.
If you’re a part-time student you may be able to claim while you look for work, but you also need to be available for and actively seeking full-time work. In practice this would mean that if you got offered work that didn’t fit around your studying you would either need to postpone your studies or stop claiming JSA.
There’s nothing to stop you taking a part-time job while studying, in which case you don’t need to register with Jobcentre Plus.
If you need further advice, contact the Students Services at your college or university. You can also find out more by contacting Jobcentre Plus.