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Sunday, 30 October 2011

Jobseeker's Allowance

Jobseeker’s Allowance is the main benefit for people of working age who are out of work or work less than 16 hours a week on average. If you're eligible, it is paid while you're looking for work. Find out more, including how to apply online.

Who can get Jobseeker's Allowance?

To get Jobseeker's Allowance you must be:

  • available for, capable of and actively seeking work
  • aged 18 or over but below State Pension age
  • working less than 16 hours per week on average, depending on the amount of your wage
  • in Great Britain

Jobseeker's Allowance isn't normally paid to 16 or 17 year olds, except in special cases.

If you’re a man who has reached the Pension Credit qualifying age, you may be able to claim Pension Credit. Contact Jobcentre Plus for advice. The minimum age you can get Pension Credit is gradually increasing to 65 alongside the increase in women’s State Pension age. 

The government has announced proposals for increasing State Pension age. Under the new proposals, women’s State Pension age will increase more quickly to 65 between April 2016 and November 2018.  Between December 2018 and April 2020, the State Pension age for men and women will increase from 65 to 66.

Changes to the State Pension age are likely to affect the Pension Credit qualifying age.

How it works

There are two types of Jobseeker's Allowance, 'contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance' and 'income-based Jobseeker's Allowance'.

Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance

You may be entitled to claim contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions (NICs). Jobcentre Plus can pay this for up to 182 days. Generally, self-employed contributions will not help you qualify for contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

This is based on your income and savings. You may get this if you have not paid enough NICs (or you've only paid contributions for self-employment) and you're on a low income.

Please read 'National Insurance - the basics' for more information about National Insurance contributions.

How to claim

Claim online

Claim by phone

Call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.

There's a Welsh language line on 0800 012 1888, and a textphone 0800 023 4888 if you find it hard to speak or hear clearly.

Lines are open Monday to Friday from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm.

Jobseeker's Allowance payments

In most cases you will not get any money for the first three days of your claim. These are called 'waiting days'.

Jobseeker's Allowance is paid at the end of every fortnight. All benefits, pensions and allowances are paid into an account. This is the safest, most convenient and efficient method of payment.

If you get an occupational or personal pension, it may affect the amount of benefit you get. Find out how an occupational or personal pension affects Jobseeker's Allowance using the Benefits adviser service.

Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance

The maximum weekly rates are:

Age Amount
Aged 16 - 24 £53.45
Aged 25 or over £67.50

Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance

The maximum weekly rates are:

Type of person Amount
Single people, aged under 25 £53.45
Single people, aged 25 or over £67.50
Couples and civil partnerships (both aged 18 or over) £105.95
Lone parent (aged under 18) £53.45
Lone parent (aged 18 or over) £67.50

For income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, the amount may be less after your household income, pension and any savings of £6,000 or more are taken into account.

What happens next

Attending the Jobcentre

When you claim Jobseeker's Allowance, you'll need to attend an interview at the Jobcentre. An adviser will help you draw up a 'jobseeker's agreement'. This will set out the steps you agree to take to find work.

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.

For more information about the help you can get to find work, visit:

If you think the decision is wrong

If Jobcentre Plus decides that you can't get Jobseeker's Allowance and you think this decision is wrong, you can appeal.

Changes in your circumstances

You must tell Jobcentre Plus as soon as possible about any changes in your circumstances, as it may affect your benefit.

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Additional links

Claim Jobseeker's Allowance online

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