The UK Rules
'Follow the Regulations'
JSA Benefit

JSA Job Seeker Allowance Benefits

What is Jobseekers Benefit? The Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) is the main unemployment benefit for those who are searching for work.

JSA BENEFIT: The job seekers allowance rules and regulations help to cover living expenses for qualified claimants.

As a rule, job seekers between 18 and State Pension age may be eligible to claim for the JSA benefit.

The UK Government make JSA payments as part of the social security benefits system. It substitutes the old 'dole system'.

There are 3 basic steps to get Jobseeker's Allowance while you look for work. Government references are also available to this JSA page in Welsh language (Cymraeg).

  1. Check your eligibility to claim Jobseekers Allowance.
  2. Apply for JSA and attend a jobseekers interview at Jobcentre Plus.
  3. Honour your agreement to search for employment.

Note: Your JSA payments may stop if you fail to keep agreements or cannot provide a valid reason for it.

The Maximum Jobseekers Allowance Amount

There is a maximum job seekers weekly amount. Your age, your savings, and your income determines how much JSA you are entitled to. The government benefits calculator helps you check how much JSA you can get and how it might affect your other benefits.

What is the Maximum Jobseeker's Allowance Rates?Jobseeker's Allowance Rates 2018

Age of JSA Claimant Jobseeker's Allowance Weekly Amount
18 to 24 years £57.90 (maximum)
25 years or over £73.10 (maximum)
Couples (both aged 18 or over) £114.85 (maximum)

Note: You cannot claim income-based JSA with Universal Credit.

How is JSA Paid?

JSA payments are usually sent every 2 weeks straight into your bank or other secure account. There may be dates when benefits are paid early for UK bank holidays.

Different Types of Jobseeker's Allowance GuideDifferent Types of JSA

JSA TYPES: You could get one of two different types of Jobseeker's Allowance. Find out how Jobcentre Plus apply unemployment benefits to a claim.

Jobseeker's Allowance Eligibility Criteria

All the following must apply before you can get Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA):

Note: You can use a government benefits calculator to check if your JSA eligibility.

JSA Joint Claim (with your partner)

JSA joint claim rules affect your claim if you have partner. You will need to make a joint claim if all these apply:

JSA for 18 to 19 Year Olds

As a rule you cannot receive JSA if your parents get Child Benefit for you. You must wait until your parents stop getting the benefit if you recently left education. But, you may qualify for Income Support instead.

JSA for Full Time and Part Time Students

JSA is not usually available for full-time students. You may need to wait until your course has completely finished. Your college or university can provide you with the term ending date. But, you might be eligible for JSA during the summer holiday if you have children.

Part-time students usually qualify for the Jobseeker's Allowance. JSA eligibility includes part-time Open University Courses providing:

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

JSA for New or Recently Returning Nationals to UK

JSA rules for people from European Economic Area and returning UK Nationals changed from 1 January 2014. You may qualify for the new Jobseeker's Allowance rules if:

How to Claim or Reclaim Jobseekers Allowance

Jobseekers Allowance Online Application

The benefit system allows you to claim Jobseeker's Allowance online. JSA online applications get a follow-up text or telephone call within two working days. The message explains the arrangements for a JSA interview at your local Jobcentre Plus office.

Note: You will not qualify for JSA if you fail to show at the job seekers interview.

Claim New Style JSA by Phone

The number you call depends on where you live.

In a 'live service area' for Universal Credit
Telephone: 0345 600 0723
Textphone: 0345 600 0743
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

In a 'full service area'
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Welsh language: 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Note: You will be living in a full service area if it has an asterisk (*) on the list of Jobcentre areas. It is a live service area if your area does not have an asterisk. If your area is not showing on the list:

  1. Phone the live service number (single persons).
  2. Claim a different type of JSA (if you live with your partner or family). You cannot claim the new style JSA unless your area is on the list.

JSA Reclaim: How to Make a JSA Rapid Reclaim

Those who have had JSA in the last 26 weeks can make a jobseeker rapid reclaim online. But, you will need to start the application over again. As a rule, it takes around 20 minutes to complete. You will still need to attend the jobseekers interview to get JSA approval.

Note: Share fishermen and volunteer development workers claiming JSA in January must follow guidance on making Class 2 National Insurance payments. Contact the Jobcentre Plus office if you are unable to apply online.

JSA Interview Documents

After applying for JSA you need to attend an interview at Jobcentre Plus. Take all these documents with you to the interview:

Primary Identity Document Examples

Secondary Identity Document Examples

They may need other documents, based on the information you provide, for a decision on your claim. You can take another person for support with you to the JSA interview.

Sign a JSA Claimant Commitment

They will ask you to sign a JSA 'Claimant Commitment' at your interview. It is an agreement about the steps you must take to look for a work. The details in your Claimant Commitment get agreed between you and your work coach. The information usually includes:

The agreement also takes consideration of:

Important Information iconYou must carry out the terms agreed to in your Claimant Commitment. Failing to do so can get your JSA stopped.

Complaints and Appealing a Decision

What happens if you disagree with a decision about your JSA? You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. You can also make a complaint if you received unsatisfactory service from Jobcentre Plus.

Your Claim for Jobseeker's Allowance

Once you claim JSA you will get further help from a work coach. Their job is to help you make a plan and find employment. They may suggest taking part in an employment programme such as the Work Programme. The work plan helps you to:

JSA Report to Jobcentre Plus Office

You must visit a Jobcentre Plus office every 2 weeks, or sooner if asked. Most claimants know this as 'signing on'. The visit gives you an opportunity to show your work coach how you looked for a job. Examples can be proof of work interviews or job applications.

Note: A break of up to 13 weeks from job seeking might apply if you are a victim of domestic abuse. In these cases your work coach can help with extra support.

What Happens if Your Circumstances Change?

You must inform Jobcentre Plus if any of your circumstances change. Common examples include start working or a change in your income. Changes in circumstances can affect how much Jobseekers Allowance you get.

Volunteer work does not usually affect your JSA but the advice is to report it before you start.

Important Information iconChoosing not to report a change in circumstances may be committing benefit fraud.

When JSA Payment Can Stop

Why do JSA payments stop and 'sanctioned' for a period? JSA stops if you fail to do something the Work Programme or your work coach asks you to do.

They will inform you how long your payment gets stopped for. It can range between 4 weeks and 3 years. JSA sanctions can happen if you:

Note: Contact Jobcentre Plus if any of these apply to your situation. JSA payment may continue if you have good reason.

What Happens if Your JSA Payment is Stopped?

You should continue looking for work even if your JSA stops. Other benefit payments can stop for longer if you stop searching for a job. Your Jobcentre Plus may reconsider the decision to stop payment.

But, if the decision is not reversed, you can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal. It is best to continue with a JSA claim until the dispute gets reviewed or settled.

Claiming Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction

What should you do if your JSA payments stop and you claim Housing Benefit? You should contact your local council immediately. They will help you get support and inform you what to do to next.

If Your JSA Claim Ends

In some cases your JSA claim may get ended altogether. This happens most often if you are unavailable for work or fail to seek work. Even though you can apply straight away again, your payments will stop for a period of time. They could stop for:

JSA and Hardship Payments

Some claimants are eligible for a hardship payment when JSA payments have stopped. Hardship payments do not have to be repaid. In most cases a hardship payment is a reduced amount of your regular Jobseeker's Allowance payment. Typically around 60 per cent of the usual amount.

Hardship Payment Eligibility: The hardship payment is for heating, food, or rent. They also help pay for other basic necessities for you or your child that you are unable to buy.

You must be at least 18 to qualify for the hardship payment. You will need to show that you tried alternative methods of finding the money. That could mean borrowing it from a friend or working extra hours.

How to Claim Hardship Payment: Contact your work coach or Jobcentre Plus adviser to get more information on claiming a hardship payment.

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0345 608 8545 (Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm)
Textphone: 0345 608 8551
Welsh language: 0345 600 3018
Click to learn more about call charges.

Note: Make sure to contact your local Jobcentre Plus if you start work so they can end your JSA claim.

Job Seekers Also Asked...

What is PIP Christmas Bonus?
Claimants who get the Personal Independence Payment also qualify for PIP Christmas Bonus. PIP Christmas payment dates 2018 are due at the same time as other Xmas bonus handouts. The amount is usually £10 and you do not need to make a claim. It is an automatic payment and does not affect any other benefits you may be receiving.

When are DWP Christmas Payments 2018 Paid?
The Christmas Bonus 2018 usually gets paid early in the month. But, other benefit payments fall on Tuesday the 25th of December. Tuesday the 1st of January 2019 is also treated as a public holiday. In this case you should get paid early and most likely before Friday the 28th of December 2018.

Do Pensioners Still Get £10 Christmas Bonus?
The UK Chancellor assigns a £10 Christmas Bonus for pensioners who get the State Pension or Pension Credit. But, pensioners who have not claimed their pension must be claiming one of the other qualifying benefits to get the extra Christmas payment.

Do You Pay Tax on Bonuses UK?
HMRC regard a bonus or tips as wages if you get them through your job. That means you may need to pay income tax on that extra money if it is not part of your usual wages. This would include an annual Christmas bonus from your employer if you are lucky enough to get one. Note that you would usually need to pay National Insurance on that bonus income too.

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) Benefit for Job Seekers in the United Kingdom