How Much Job Seeker’s Allowance Am I Entitled To? Benefits

When asked for advice on benefits, we’re often quizzed most on Job Seeker’s Allowance. This is for a variety of reasons, but one of the most significant is that it’s undergone large scale changes over the past few years, with contribution and income JSA being replaced with Universal Credit and ‘New Style’ JSA. One of the most commonly asked questions regards how much allowance people are entitled to. In order to shed some light on this and explore this benefit in more detail, we’ve written the following guide.

What Job Seeker’s Allowance is Available?

Currently, there are three types of Job Seeker’s Allowance available. These are:

  • Contribution based JSA
  • Income Based JSA
  • ‘New Style’ JSA

Contribution and Income Based JSA used to be more widely available. However, since the rollout of Universal Credit and ‘New Style’ JSA, they have become exclusively available to those that either get the severe disability premium or have got the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it.

If that’s not the case, you may now apply for ‘new style’ JSA. As this works in the same way as a contribution based benefit, you have to have paid enough NI contributions over the last two years to redeem it. It may be of use to note that in some cases, you may be able to apply for ‘new style’ JSA on top of your Universal Credit.

How Much Job Seeker’s Allowance Could I Get?

When you apply for JSA, the amount that you’re granted will depend on a number of factors including your age, income and savings. You may also get less if you hold down a part-time job or have a private pension. As of April 2020, the rate for new style JSA was as follows:

  • Under 25: £58.90
  • 25 and Over: £74.35

However, it’s important to note that these figures are based on age, when many other factors can come into the equation.

How Can I Apply For ‘New Style JSA’?

In terms of the logistics, applying for JSA is made quite simple. However, there are a number of different criteria that you must first meet before you can claim for it. As a starting point, you will need to have worked as an employee and paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 or 3 years. From there, you will need to meet all of the following criteria to be considered:

  • Be over 18 years of age (although some exceptions can be made for those aged 16 or 17)
  • Be under the State Pension Age
  • Not be in full-time education
  • Be available for work
  • Not be working currently, or be working less than 16 hours a week on average
  • Not have an illness or disability stopping you from working
  • Have the right to work in the UK

It’s important to note that for as long as you’re receiving this payment, you’ll also be expected to take reasonable steps to look for work. Once you’re ready to apply, the process can all be completed online through the government portal. In order to ensure that it runs nice and smoothly, you will need to have the following available to you:

  • National Insurance number
  • Bank or building society account details (or those of a family member/trusted friend)
  • Details of your employment for the past 6 months, including employer contact details and dates that you worked for them
  • Statement letters from any private pensions

Contact BBO For JSA Advice

If you still have any questions or would be interested in receiving advice regarding your Job Seeker’s Allowance claim, please contact us. Our team would be happy to help with any queries that you may have and will walk you through all of the available options. Here at BBO, we are a lottery funded organisation set up to support people living across Stafford and South Staffordshire with advice on employment, welfare, finances, health and wellbeing and personal development.

In order to get in touch with one of our advocates, you can either give us a call or come along to one of our drop in sessions. We understand that the pandemic has made employment difficult for a lot of people. Therefore, if you’ve ended up redundant or you’re finding it hard to get a job, we would be happy to help.