You may be eligible for extra money through Jobseeker’s Allowance if you are seeking work.
Jobseeker’s Allowance can help you while you’re looking for work. Universal Credit has replaced Jobseeker’s Allowance for most people, so read this page to find out if you’re eligible.
What is Jobseeker’s Allowance?
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is a benefit for people who are actively looking for work. You might be able to get it while you’re out of work, or working fewer than 16 hours a week.
However Universal Credit has replaced JSA for most people.
The process is different in Northern Ireland. Read more.
Who can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance?
There are three types of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA):
• ‘new style’
They pay the same standard amount, but the application process is different.
Each type of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) pays the same personal allowance each week. You could get:
- up to £84.80 a week if you’re single and 25 or older
- £67.20 from the age of 18 to 24.
You will need to make a joint claim if you are claiming as part of a couple.
The exact amount will depend on your circumstances. You may also get extra amounts called premiums added to your JSA. If you’re a carer, you could get a carer premium. You could also get a premium if you’re disabled or if your partner is a pensioner.
Start by checking whether you can claim JSA. You can claim if you:
- are under State Pension age
- are over 18 (you can be 16 or 17 in some circumstances)
- don’t have an illness or disability that means you can’t work
- are looking for work
- are not in full-time education
- are not claiming Income Support or Employment and Support Allowance
have the right to work in the UK.
You can usually get new style JSA for up to six months if you:
- meet the basic conditions
- have worked for an employer and paid enough Class 1 National Insurance contributions in the last two to three years. Certain National Insurance credits can also count.
New style JSA can be claimed even if you have savings and/or any partner is working full or part time.
In certain circumstances you can get your new-style JSA topped up with Universal Credit. If you can’t get new style JSA because you don’t meet the conditions, check if you can just claim Universal Credit instead.
You can only make a new claim for income-related JSA if:
- you firstly get a severe disability premium added to one of your benefits
- or you’re entitled to a severe disability premium
- or you were entitled to the severe disability premium in the past
month, and are still eligible for it.
You could make a claim if:
- you meet the basic conditions have a low or no income
- you (and your partner) have £16,000 or less in savings
- you work fewer than 16 hours a week. If you have a partner, they must work fewer than 24 hours a week
If you’re entitled to a severe disability premium, or you were entitled to the severe disability premium in the past month, and are still eligible for it you might be eligible for contribution-based JSA.
You can usually get contribution-based JSA for up to six months if you:
- meet the basic conditions
- have worked as an employee and paid enough Class 1 National Insurance contributions in the last two to three years. (Class 2 may count in very limited circumstances.) National Insurance credits can also count.
There are special rules for carers when working out whether you meet the contribution conditions. You might be able to base your claim on the years you were working before you became a carer, depending on when your claim for Carer’s Allowance ended. Contact the Carers UK Helpline for advice.
Contribution-based JSA can be claimed even if you have savings and/or any partner is working full or part time.
If you’re applying for new style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA):
- in England, Wales or Scotland, you can apply online at Gov.uk or by calling Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688
- in Northern Ireland, you can apply online at NI Direct or by calling the Department for Communities on 0800 022 4250. You can also contact your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits Office for a form.
If you’re applying for income-based or contribution-based JSA:
- in England, Wales or Scotland, call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688
- in Northern Ireland, call the Department for Communities on 0800 022 4250.
After applying, you would usually be invited for an interview to finish your claim. If you are worried about attending a face-to-face interview, you can contact Jobcentre Plus and talk through your concerns. Look up the contact details of yours. You may be able to have a phone call if necessary.
To claim JSA, you need to accept a claimant commitment showing the steps you will take each week to look and prepare for work. As a carer, you may be able to restrict the number of hours you’re available to work (but not to fewer than 16 hours).
Tell the relevant benefits office if your circumstances change, and ensure you tell them before or as the change occurs. In England, Wales and Scotland, call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 169 0310. In Northern Ireland, tell your Social Security or Jobs and Benefits Office.
Start by asking for a mandatory reconsideration. This means the decision maker has to look again at the decision they made. If you still disagree with the outcome after this, you can make an appeal to an independent tribunal. Find out more on our challenging a benefit decision webpage.