What is it?
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is a benefit paid to people who are not working (or only working part-time) and who are actively seeking work.
There are 2 types of JSA: contribution-based and income-based.
Contribution-based JSA is paid for up to 6 months, but only if you paid enough Class 1 National Insurance contributions when you were working. You can get it even if your partner works or if you have savings. The calculator will work out if you are entitled to contribution-based JSA.
Income-based JSA is payable if you have not paid enough Class 1 National Insurance contributions or were self-employed and when your contribution-based JSA stops. It can also top-up contribution-based JSA if you and your partner's income is low enough. It can be paid for as long as you keep meeting the rules for it.
If you receive JSA (income-based) you may be able to get help with the cost of your mortgage, home loan or rent. If you qualify for help with housing costs the calculator includes the full amount of any help that you are entitled to (though there may in fact be a 'waiting period' at the start of your claim). For more information see help with housing costs.
Can I get it?
If you go through the calculator we will work out whether you are entitled to JSA (income-based) and how much you might be able to claim. The calculator will also work out if you are entitled to contribution-based JSA.
If you qualify for help with housing costs we include the full amount of any help that you are entitled to.
How do I claim?
The first step in making a new claim for JSA is to fill in the Jobseeker's Allowance online claim form.
Once you have filled in the online form you will then need to attend an interview with JobCentre Plus. Even if you have made a JSA claim within the last 6 months, and hence can use the 'rapid reclaim' service, you need to fill in the form before an interview can be arranged.
If you can't apply online then a telephone helpline is available. For more information see the GOV.UK help page on how to claim JSA.
For Northern Ireland you claim via the social security/jobs and benefit offices and deatils can be found on the NIdirect website.
Third Party Deductions
When you claim Job Seekers Allowance you can pay for bills and debt directly from your benefit. This is called a Third Party Deduction, to find out more about this see Third Party Deductions.