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Eligibility conditions for Jobseeker's Allowance

Who is eligible to claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) is a benefit paid to eligible people who are currently unemployed and actively looking for work.

You can claim JSA if you are:
- actively looking for work or working fewer than 16 hours per week
- over 18 but below State Pension age
- living in England, Scotland or Wales

If you are unemployed but not actively seeking work you may instead be able to claim Income Support or, if you are sick or disabled, Employment and Support Allowance. For more information see eligibility conditions for Income Support or eligibility conditions for Employment and Support Allowance.

There are 2 types of JSA: contribution-based and income-based.

  • Contribution-based Jobseekers Allowance 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 can not work out if you are entitled to contribution-based JSA.
  • Income-based JSA is payable if you have not paid enough National Insurance contributions or when your contribution-based JSA stops. It can also top-up contribution-based JSA. 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 and other home loans. For more information see help with housing costs.