What is Job Seekers Allowance?

Job Seekers Allowance is available to UK residents actively seeking employment

Jobseeker's allowance is the benefit paid to help with living expenses while someone is unemployed but looking for work, and is administered through the JobCentre Plus. To claim, you must be over 18 but below State Pension Age, available for work and not in full time education.

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. The conditions on this are that you must take a job if one is offered and you must do all you can to look for work, as agreed with your work coach.

If you are under 20 years old and in school you will not be able to get Jobseeker's allowance while your guardian still receives Child Benefit for you, but may be able to get Income Support.

You can apply for this benefit online or over the phone and will be invited to an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus to complete the claim. At the interview, they will discuss what steps can be taken to find work and how you can improve your chances of getting a job. A Claimant Commitment will be agreed with a work coach and the terms of this agreement must be met for benefit payment to continue. The commitment may consist of things like registering with recruitment agencies and having an agreed number of hours per week which must be spent looking for a job. Once benefit is in payment, you will need to visit a Jobcentre Plus office every two weeks to ‘sign on’ and will need to show the work coach what you have been doing to look for work.

There are two types of Jobseekers Allowance; Contribution-based and Income-based. If a claimant has made enough National Insurance Contributions in the 2 tax years prior to the benefit year the claim is made in, they will be able to claim Contributions-based Jobseekers Allowance. This can be paid for up to 182 days (26 weeks) after which time you may be moved to another applicable benefit.

If a claimant has not made enough contributions they may be entitled to an Income Based Job Seekers Allowance. To get Income-based Jobseekers Allowance, you need to work less than 16 hours per week on average, your partner must work less than 24 hours and you must have no more than £16000 in savings. You can also claim Income-based Jobseekers Allowance if you have already received your allocated 182 days Contribution-based Jobseekers Allowance.

The Jobcentre Plus will make sure all claimants are actively looking for work in order to continue awarding Jobseekers Allowance. Your benefits could be stopped or ‘sanctioned’ if you are not actively looking for work as agreed in your Claimant Agreement, if you do not attend the Jobcentre Plus when asked or if you do not attend interviews or turn down a job or training course.

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