Losing a job you rely on for your financial well-being is never an easy thing. Thankfully Jobseeker’s Allowance is there to soften the blow.
But what exactly is Jobseeker’s Allowance, how much is it, and how do you claim it?
Read on to find out more.
What is Jobseeker’s Allowance?
Jobseeker’s Allowance is a benefit for people who are not in full-time employment (that is work less than 16 hours per week) but are capable of working and are looking for work.
There are two types of Jobseeker’s Allowance, income-based and contribution-based. Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is being replaced by Universal Credit.
Is Jobseeker’s Allowance means-tested?
This depends on which type of allowance you receive:
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is means-tested.
- Contributory/New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance is non-means-tested.
How much Jobseeker’s Allowance can I get?
There is a cap on how much Jobseeker’s Allowance you are able to receive. However, the main factor that dictates how much you receive is how old you are:
Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid weekly. Additionally, like most other benefits, payments are made directly to your building society or bank account.
How long will I receive Jobseeker’s Allowance for?
You will receive Jobseeker’s Allowance for a maximum of 182 days, or about 6 months. After this period has passed, you will need to talk with your Jobcentre Plus representative to see what other benefits you may be able to receive.
When will I receive my Jobseeker’s Allowance payments?
In some cases, you may have to wait for your first payment to arrive in your bank account. It can take up to 3 weeks after applying for the first payment to be received, although most people will get it within 7 days after application.
Your first payment could be small and may be less than the full amount you are entitled to. This is unique for the first payment and subsequent payments will typically be sent every 2 weeks and will consist of the full amount you are entitled to.
What is ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance?
‘New style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance is a new form of benefit for people who are currently out of work. All new Jobseeker’s Allowance applicants are placed on the new style scheme.
New Style JSA is a contribution-based benefit. Normally, this means you will only be able to get it if you’ve paid and/or been credited with enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.
If you are currently claiming one of the old forms of the benefit, you will stay on that so long as your circumstances stay the same.
How do I know if I am eligible for ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance?
The following criteria must be met for you to be eligible for ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance:
- You were previously an employee of a business.
- You made Class 1 National Insurance contributions during this employment for at least 2 years.
For you to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance, one of the following must also apply:
- Your country of residence is England, Wales or Scotland.
- You are either working less than 16 hours per week on average or not working at all.
- You are able to work.
- You do not have disability or illness that keeps you from being able to work.
- You are not a full-time student.
- You are younger than State Pension age.
- You are over 18 years old.
How do I ensure I keep receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance?
In order to keep receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance, you need to be actively looking for work. You will be assigned a work coach when you apply for this benefit who will assess your attempts to find a job and help you in the process of applying for roles.
What if I was self-employed? Can I claim Jobseeker’s Allowance?
If you were self-employed, you will likely not qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance. This is because most self-employed people only pay Class 2 National Insurance contributions, which prevent them from claiming the benefit.
How do I apply for ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance?
You can apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance online on the Gov.UK website by following their easy-to-use forms.
Those under 18 years of age cannot apply online and will need to contact their local Jobcentre Plus office and speak to an adviser.
- Any private pension statement letters.
- Details of employment within the last 6 months. This includes the dates you were working, as well as your employer’s contact details.
- Building society or bank account details.
- Your National Insurance number.
Can I back date an application?
You may backdate your claim. This can be done for up to 3 months before the current date. You may, however, only do so if you have a good reason for why you did not apply sooner.
The following are examples of possible reasons to backdate a claim:
- You did not receive accurate information regarding Jobseeker’s Allowance.
- You experienced a death of a family member or a partner.
What happens after I submit my application for Jobseeker’s Allowance?
After you have applied for Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will receive a text confirming your application. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will then contact you within 10 days of submission.
If you are eligible, you will need to participate in a phone interview with a work coach from your local Jobcentre Plus office.
You will be asked to agree to a ‘Claimant Commitment’. This is an agreement that you make with your work coach in respect to how you will look for work. This may include the following:
- The number of hours you will spend searching for work each week.
- The steps you will take to search for work. This can include anything from writing your resume to making a registration at a recruitment agency.
Can Jobseeker’s Allowance be stopped?
Your Claimant Commitment ensures that you take steps to look for work. During the period that you claim you will be compelled to attend appointments with your work coach to provide proof of what you have been doing to find work.
Note that your payments can stop if you do not do any of the following:
- Fail to do something that you agreed to do with your work coach.
- Fail to attend training that you were scheduled to attend.
- Fail to attend an interview.
- Fail to send applications to jobs that are available to you.
- Miss a meeting with your work coach
Losing a job can be a stressful time for anybody, but Jobseeker’s Allowance is there to soften the blow.
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