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Information » Money » Benefits » Jobseeker's Allowance

JobSeeker's Allowance

This is for people who are unemployed, but capable of working.

You must be over 18, not in full-time education, and able to prove you are available and actively looking for work.

To prove you are looking for work, you will have regular meetings (usually every 2 weeks) at your local Jobcentre Plus. This is called ‘signing on’.

JSA is at least £57.35 per week and is usually paid every 2 weeks. You’ll be paid into an account e.g. a bank account, so make sure you’ve got one!

There are 2 types of JSA. To see which type you can get, you can go to Jobcentre Plus or try a trusted benefits calculator.

A benefits calculator will also tell you how JSA affects your other benefits. Note: The new benefits cap [CLIC LINK] might limit your total benefits amount.

Contribution-based JSA

If you’ve paid enough Class 1 National Insurance contributions (payments) (NICs) in the last 2 tax years, you could get contribution-based JSA.

Because this is not income-based JSA, your income or savings don’t usually affect how much you get.

However, you can only get contribution-based JSA for 182 days, and after that you may be able to get income-based JSA.

Income-based JSA

You could get income-based JSA if you have not paid enough National Insurance contributions and you’re on a low income.

Unlike contribution-based JSA, your income and savings can affect how much you get. You can only get income-based JSA if you have savings less than £16,000 and you work less than 16 hours/week on average (or your partner is not working more than 24 hours per week).

Again, use a benefits calculator to work out how much you could get.

Who else can apply?

16-17 year olds can’t normally claim JSA, except in certain cases. Your local Jobcentre Plus will tell you about these.

18-19 year olds can’t normally claim JSA, if they’re in full-time education nor if their parents receive Child Benefit for them.

Full-time students can’t usually get JSA until their course has officially finished - so do check the date with your college or university. If you have children, you may be able to claim JSA during the summer holiday.

You can get JSA while studying part-time if you can combine your course with a job, or are willing to give up your course for a job. Find out more here https://www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/eligibility.

How do I apply?

You can claim JSA online here [https://www.dwpe-services.direct.gov.uk/en/jobseekersallowanceclaim] or via phone/text, if you can’t apply online:

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Welsh language: 0800 012 1888
Textphone: 0800 023 4888


Your JSA could be stopped as a penalty if you:

  • don’t apply for any jobs
  • don’t go to a Jobcentre Plus when asked
  • turn down a job or training
  • don’t go to any training booked for you
  • leave your job or training without a good reason or because of your behaviour

This is known as a ‘sanction’ and could be up to 3 years, so you should avoid this at all costs!

More info can be found in the full JSA booklets produced by the Government.

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