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Jobseeker's Allowance

JSA - Job Seeker's Allowance

Please note:

If you are working age or in a couple where both are working age, you are no longer able to make a new claim for income based Jobseeker's Allowance, unless you receive a Severe Disability Premium (SDP). In most cases, if you want to make a new claim, you will need to claim Universal Credit instead. You may also need to claim Universal Credit if you experience a change in circumstances.

If you are a mixed age couple (one is working age and one is pension age), if you are not receiving Pension Credit and you want to make a new claim, you will need to claim Universal Credit. For further information see our 'mixed age couples' help page.

If you tell us you are currently receiving income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (or could still claim if you are getting an SDP) we will work out how much you should be entitled to. So you can see how moving to Universal Credit could affect your entitlements we will also show what you might be entitled to under Universal Credit on the results page if you are eligible. 

The information below remains for people who are still claiming income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.

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, were self-employed or when your contribution-based JSA stops. It can also top-up contribution-based JSA in some cases. 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 these 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 the housing costs help). 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.