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Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility Criteria

You will need to meet all the eligibility conditions to get Jobseeker's Allowance. Find out who is eligible to claim the benefit and how to qualify as a student.

JSA ELIGIBILITY: All the following must apply before you can qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA):

  • You are at least 18 years old (contact Jobcentre Plus for exceptions that apply for some 16 or 17 years olds).
  • You are under the State Pension age for the United Kingdom.
  • You are not studying in full-time education.
  • You live in England, Wales, or in Scotland (different rules apply to meet JSA eligibility criteria in Northern Ireland).
  • You are available, capable of performing work (a disability or illness does not stop you from working), and you are actively trying to get a job.
  • You have already signed an agreement (the ‘Claimant Commitment’) with a work coach at the job centre.
  • If you or your partner are working you currently work less than 16 hours per week or 24 hours for your partner (as an average).

Note: A benefits calculator will help you check whether you meet Jobseeker’s Allowance eligibility. In some cases, you may need to claim Universal Credit instead.

JSA Conditions for 18 and 19 Year Olds

As a rule, you cannot get JSA if your parents are claiming Child Benefit for you. So, you must wait until your parents stop getting the benefit if you recently left education. But, in some cases you will qualify to get Income Support instead.

Note: If you are 18 or older and living with a partner who is 18 or over you should make a joint claim for JSA as a couple (with your partner).

JSA Eligibility for Part Time Students

Part-time students often qualify for the Jobseeker’s Allowance. That is because JSA eligibility includes most part-time Open University Courses providing:

  • You accept a job posting if you get offered one.
  • You continue liaising with your work coach and do everything possible to look for employment.

Check with your work coach before you accept a short course of two 2 weeks (or less).

JSA Eligibility for Full Time Students

JSA Eligibility for Full Time Students

JSA is not usually available for full-time students (studying for A level or an equivalent qualification level). You may need to wait until your course has completely finished and your parents stop getting Child Benefit.

CHB payments will stop on either the last day of February, May, August, or November (whichever comes first).

But, you might be eligible to get JSA during the summer holiday. It could apply if you have children and you are studying for a degree-level qualification.

New to the UK (or recently returned)

JSA eligibility rules for people from the EEA or returning UK Nationals changed in 2014. You would need to prove that you lived in the UK, Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland, or the Channel Islands for at least three (3) months before the claim.

If you might meet the new job seeker qualifying conditions you would also need to be either:

  • A United Kingdom national who recently returned from abroad.
  • A national from the European Economic Area (EEA) with the right to live in either:
    • The United Kingdom.
    • The Channel Islands.
    • The Isle of Man.
    • The Republic of Ireland.

Job Seekers Eligibility Criteria in the United Kingdom