Out-of-work benefit claimed (IS/JSA/ESA)

Out-of-work benefit claimed (IS/JSA/ESA)

You may be able to claim benefits because you are out of work. The information on this page should help you to determine the kind of benefit you should claim. More information is available on couples and out-of-work benefit.

If you have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions you may be able to claim contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance or contributory Employment and Support Allowance. Even if you get contributory benefits you may also have entitlement to a means-tested benefit top-up so please also select one of the benefits below.

If you are not entitled to a contributory benefit, you may qualify for a means-tested benefit, see below for more information on which benefit you may be entitled to claim.

Income Support

Income Support (IS) is extra money to help people on a low income. Only certain people are allowed to claim Income Support. You may be able to get this if you are:

  • entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP)
  • appealing against a decision that you are capable of work following a work capability assessment (WCA)
  • caring for someone and either you are getting Carer's Allowance, or the person you are looking after gets Attendance Allowance (AA) or constant Attendance Allowance, the middle or highest rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) care component, or a daily living component of Personal Independence Payment
  • a lone parent and responsible for a child under 5.
  • pregnant and incapable of work because of your pregnancy or due to have your baby within the next 11 weeks or have had a baby within the last 15 weeks.

Before the introduction of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) on 27 October 2008 you could get Income Support if you were sick/disabled and unable to work. There are still some existing claimants remaining on Income Support for the moment but they will be transferred over to ESA at some point. No new claimants for Income Support are accepted unless they fit into one of the criteria above.

For more information see our Income Support help page.

If none of these conditions apply to you (or your partner) it is more likely that you will need to claim income-based Jobseeker's Allowance or income-related Employment and Support Allowance.

Jobseeker's Allowance

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) is paid if you are unemployed or working part time (less than 16 hours a week) and are available for and actively seeking work. For more information see our Jobseekers Allowance help page.

Employment and Support Allowance

You can get Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if your ability to work is limited by ill health or disability. ESA replaced Incapacity Benefit (IB) and Income Support (IS) paid on the grounds of incapacity, for new claims from 27 October 2008. For more information see our Employment and Support Allowance help page.

Please read the relevant information pages to assess whether you can claim Income Support, income-related Employment and Support Allowance or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. You can only claim one of these means tested out of work benefits – if you think that you meet the criteria for more than one of these benefits seek further advice about which one you should claim.

Once you have indicated which benefit you want to claim the calculator will then work out the amount that you could be paid.



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