How to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance? Benefits

Jobseeker’s Allowance is a benefit available to individuals who are currently looking for work. If this sounds like you, you may be eligible to make a claim.

Find out more about Jobseeker’s Allowance, how to make a claim, and how much you can expect to get in our helpful guide.

What is Jobseeker’s Allowance?

Jobseeker’s Allowance (also known as JSA) is designed to help individuals who are unemployed and looking for work support themselves until they find a job.

There are three types of JSA: contribution-based, income-based and ‘new style’ JSA. Your current circumstances (such as how much you’ve paid in National Insurance contributions) will decide which type you can claim.

What is contribution-based JSA?

Contribution-based JSA is based on how much you have paid in National Insurance contributions over the last 2 tax years. Like a lot of benefits, this type of JSA is calculated against your eligibility, personal circumstances and age.

It is important to be aware that you can only claim contribution-based JSA for a maximum of 6 months. And the average amounts may be reduced if you are employed part-time at a certain wage, or you receive a pension.

What is income-based JSA?

Income-based JSA is given to eligible people who haven’t paid enough in National Insurance contributions. In other words, if you have not been employed for the last 2-3 years this won’t affect your claim. For this type of JSA, there are varying amounts available to different people, including single individuals over and under 25, couples, and lone parents.

In assessing how much you may be eligible for, your current income and savings over £16,000 will be taken into account.

What is ‘new style’ JSA?

‘New style’ JSA is available to individuals who have worked as an employee and paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions over the last 2-3 years. For this type of benefit, your partner’s income and savings will not affect your claim.

Like contribution-based JSA, you can claim the new style for up to 6 months.

Am I eligible for JSA?

Before you make a claim, you may be wondering if you are eligible for either type of JSA listed above. This is entirely dependent on your circumstances such as age, where you live, right to work, if you have a partner who works and whether or not you have an illness or disability that stops you from working.

JSA also isn’t always available to those who are self-employed, in full-time education or claiming other benefits either. That being said, as each claim is assessed on a person’s unique circumstances, it is impossible to say if you are eligible and how much you may receive without knowing your individual situation.

How do I claim JSA?

If you would like to claim JSA, you can do so in two ways:

  • Online application
  • By phone

Everyone who claims JSA (whichever type) will be required to attend an interview at their local Jobcentre Plus with a work coach. In this interview, you will find out the conditions you have to meet to receive JSA and ways in which they can help you to find work.

This agreement between the individual and their job coach will be reviewed every two weeks.

If you are planning on claiming JSA, it is wise to get the right documentation in order. This includes:

  • National Insurance number
  • Driving license and/or birth certificate
  • Bank statements
  • Payslips
  • Evidence of income and savings

Get help with your JSA claim

If you’ve never claimed benefits before, understanding the process and eligibility criteria can be confusing – but we can help! Building Better Opportunities Advocates can support you in understanding which benefits are suitable for you, and walk you through each step of the application process.

Further to this, if you are out of work and would like to find another job, we can support with this too. As well as FREE financial advice and welfare help, we can also work with you to create a free personal development programme which includes training courses, employment advice, confidence building, work placements, and more!

To find out more, all you need to do is speak to a member of our team. You can do this in several ways:

  • Call us on 01902 696 228
  • Fill out the enquiry form below to request a callback
  • Visit us at one of our drop-in sessions in Stafford or South Staffordshire

We are a lottery-funded service dedicated to helping people live better lives. We aren’t here just to get you a job, regardless of whether you like it or not. Our job is to support you in becoming your happiest self through providing financial advice, health and wellbeing support, and employment help.