What is Job Seekers Allowance?

Job Seekers Allowance is available to UK residents actively seeking employment

Jobseeker's allowance is the benefit paid to unemployed people who are actively looking for work, and is administered through the JobCenter Plus. Job seekers may qualify for this benefit if they are actively seeking work and have made enough National Security contributions. If a claimant has not made enough contributions they may be entitled to an Income Based Job Seekers Allowance. The amount a person gets depends on their circumstances. The Job Centre is responsible for making sure people who are receiving benefits are actively seeking employment and fulfilling their responsibilities under the Jobseeker's Allowance.

There are two kinds of Jobseeker's Allowances. The first kind of Jobseeker's Allowance is based on how much National Insurance a person has paid in the previous 2 years, and is paid for up to 182 days. This is called 'contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance'. The second kind of Jobseeker's Allowance is based on the claimant's income and savings and is called 'income-based Jobseeker's Allowance'.

To qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance a person must be looking for work, have savings less than a certain amount, be able to work for at least 40 hours a week, have paid enough National Insurance on their income, be over 18 and under State Pension age, have a 'jobseeker's agreement', not be in education, and live in Great Britain.

If you left your previous job, or were dismissed because of misconduct, Jobcentre Plus will make a decision based on several factors to decide if you are eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance. The 'jobseeker's agreement' sets out the steps you will take to find work. A person will be required to come into the Jobcentre when asked to, at least once every 2 weeks, to sign a statement saying that they have been looking for work and nothing has changed that could affect their Jobseeker's Allowance.

I you are not free to accept work, if you do not look for training or work, or if you do not have a current jobseeker's agreement, you could be disqualified from receiving Jobseeker's Allowance. If you turn down work or leave a job or training without valid reason, you could also lose your Jobseeker's Allowance.

If you are in part-time education or training you may still be able to claim Jobseeker's Allowance as long as you are ready to work and looking for work. If you have been out of work for 3 months or more before starting your courses, you may be able to continue receiving Jobseeker's Allowance if you are able to arrange your schedule to allow for work and be prepared to give up the course if you are offered a job. If you are under 20 years old and in school you will not be able to get Jobseeker's allowance, but may be able to get Income Support.

You may qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance if you are working short time or are laid off for a while, until you start full-time work again. To receive Jobseeker's Allowance while working short time, you must be able to work, and looking for work. You are considered able to work if you are working less than 16 hours per week, earning less than the minimum amount that the government says you need to live on, are ready to start your usual job, and ready to take up casual work to make your hours total up to at least 40 hours per week. After the first 13 weeks of your short time work, you will have to meet the normal rules for getting Jobseeker's Allowance.

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