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JOBSEEKER’S ALLOWANCE What is it? Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is for people who are unemployed but are capable of working, available to work and actively seeking work. There are two main types of JSA – Contribution based and Income-based. A third type of JSA, Joint-claim JSA is very similar to Income-based but is only available if you are a member of a ‘joint claim couple’. It is important to note that if you are a full-time student you cannot usually get JSA. Who can claim? You qualify for JSA if you:  Do not count as being in full-time paid work and nor does your partner, and if you are claiming Income-based JSA; and  Are capable of work; and  Are not in ‘relevant education’; and  You satisfy what are known as ‘labour market conditions’ – i.e. you must:  be ‘available for work’; and  be ‘actively seeking work’; and  have a current ‘jobseeker’s agreement’ with the DWP; and  are below pensionable age (60 for women and 65 for men); and  are not getting Income Support; and  you are not a ‘person subject to immigration control’ NB: This list may not be exhaustive and there may be exceptions to this list. Check with an Advisor for more information or on the JobCentre Plus website http://www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk/JCP/index.html What else should I know? Contributions-based JSA – You must have previously paid, or been treated as having paid a certain number of NI contributions to be able to get Contribution-based JSA. You cannot get Contributionsbased JSA if you have only been paying NI contributions for self-employment but you may be able to get some Income-based JSA. Contribution-based JSA is paid at a fixed weekly rate based on your age for up to 182 days. You cannot receive more than 182 days of Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance in any jobseeking period. It is possible to receive contribution-based JSA with an income-based JSA top-up. Income-based JSA – Tops up your income to a level set by the Government that changes every April. The amount you get is means-tested and depends on your needs and how much income and capital you have. Joint-claim JSA – similar to income-based JSA but both of you must usually satisfy all conditions for getting JSA.

Information sourced from www.direct.gov.uk

February 2011


You cannot usually get JSA if you are under the age of 18. What if I am studying? Full-time students are not usually entitled to JSA unless you are:  One of a couple who are both full-time students and either/both of you is responsible for a child but this only applies during the summer vacation and if you are actually available for work; or   

On an employment-related course of up to two weeks that has been approved in advance by the DWP or a Venture Trust training programme of up to four weeks. In either case, only one course is allowed in a 12 month period; or Aged 25 or over and on an approved employment related course; or Waiting to go back to your course, having taken approved time out because of an illness or caring responsibility and that has now come to an end.

If you are a student and cannot claim JSA you may be able to claim some Income Support instead. Part-time students, who meet the ‘labour market’ conditions (i.e. – they are available for work, they are actively seeking work and they have a current ‘jobseekers’ agreement’ with the DWP) can receive JSA. How do I claim? Claims for benefits should be made through your local JobCentre Plus office. You can make a claim by going in person to your local office or by calling or applying online. To claim by telephone contact the JobCentre Plus: 0800 0 55 66 88 or by text phone on: 0800 023 48 88 Phone lines are open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. The call will take approx 40mins and can only be made by the person actually making the claim. For more information about what you should provide visit: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Jobseekers/index Alternatively you can claim JSA online by visiting the following website: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/eservice/

Information sourced from www.direct.gov.uk

February 2011


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