Contribution-based benefits

Contribution based benefits

What are they?

Contributory benefits are available to help people who have paid enough national insurance contributions over a certain period of time.

There are two contributory benefits - Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) - and each is available under the old legacy benefits system, where they are called 'contribution-based' or 'contributory', or the new Universal Credit system, where they are called 'new style'.

Can I get them?

The tax years that are used to check your entitlement are usually the last two complete tax years before the benefit year in which your job seeking or limited capability for work began. A tax year runs from 6 April one year to 5 April the following year. A benefit year runs from the first Sunday in January.

You can only receive contributory/new style JSA for up to 6 months.

You can only receive contributory/new style ESA for up to 12 months if you are put in the Work Related Activity Group. If you are put in the Support Group there is no limit on how long you can receive it for.

If you have already received your full entitlement to contributory/new style JSA or ESA or you do not have the required level of contributions we will work out your entitlement to other benefits.

To find out more about the contribution rules for each benefit see our help pages on contributory Jobseeker's Allowance or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.