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Benefits and help when looking for work

If you're unemployed and available for work, you may be able to get Jobseeker's Allowance and other benefits. Jobcentre Plus may also give you help and support to look for a job. Find out more, including how to get benefit advice.

Benefits if you're unemployed

Benefits adviser

Use the online benefits adviser to get an estimate of the benefits you may get. You can also find out how a change in your circumstances may affect your benefits, for example if you start work or increase your hours of work.

Jobseeker's Allowance

To find out about Jobseeker's Allowance, who can get it and how to claim online go to Jobseeker's Allowance.

Help looking for work

New jobseeker interview

When you claim Jobseeker's Allowance, you'll need to attend an interview at the Jobcentre. This is called a 'new jobseeker interview'.

A Jobcentre Plus adviser will talk to you about the extra help that may be available to you, such as:

  • access to specialist help for things like writing a CV, preparation for interviews, confidence building and work skills
  • help to look for work if you haven’t had experience of looking for a job for some time
  • help if you're looking for professional or executive jobs
  • help with reading, maths or with your English
  • information about improving your skills to suit the type of jobs available locally
  • help with one-off expenses that might help you get back to work quickly, such as the cost of buying formal clothes for an interview

This support depends on your circumstances, and what's available in your area.

Jobseeker reviews

To keep getting benefit you'll have to attend regular jobsearch reviews, usually every fortnight. There's a longer review if you've been getting benefit for 13 weeks.

Your reviews cover:

  • what you have been doing to find work (you should keep a record)
  • changes you might need to make to improve your chances of success
  • any additional help you think you need

After six months

If you’re still out of work after six months, you’ll be asked to attend a 'restart interview' with a personal adviser.

This interview is to make sure:

  • you're doing all you can to find work
  • Jobcentre Plus are giving you the help you need

Your personal adviser will tell you about any extra help you can get. This depends on your circumstances and what’s available in your area. It can include:

  • help to start your own business or become self-employed, including financial help and specialist advice
  • the training that's available if you need to improve your skills, or develop new ones that will increase your job prospects
  • voluntary work you could do while seeking full time work. Volunteering helps you keep your skills up to date or gain new skills and experience that will help you

You may also get help and support through the New Deal programme. This is for people out of work for six months or more.

Benefits when you go back to work

When you return to work, some of your benefits will carry on for a short while. You may be able to get other benefits and support once you're working. See 'Benefits and help when going back to work' to find out more.

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