Jobseeker’s Allowance is the main benefit for people who are unemployed but are capable of working and are looking for a job.
In order to qualify you must be able to start a job straight away. You must be available and actively looking for work and you will have to go to your local Jobcentre regularly to prove this.
You must have a jobseeker’s agreement. This will set out the things you’ve agreed to do to find work.
You must meet regularly with a Jobcentre Plus adviser to show that you’re able to start work and that you looking for a job as defined in your jobseeker's agreement.
There are two types of Jobseeker’s Allowance – Contribution-based and Income-based.
Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid if you have been working and have paid enough National Insurance contributions in the last two years. It is paid for a maximum of six months.
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is for those people who have not paid enough National Insurance contributions and is based on your income and savings.
You can find out more about both types of Jobseeker’s Allowance and the amount of money you might be paid from GOV.UK or alternativelly from citizensadvice.
You have to agree to a ‘Claimant Commitment’ if you want to claim JSA. This is an agreement that you’ll complete certain tasks, eg make a work plan.
In order to claim either type of Jobseeker’s Allowance you can apply on-line here or you can phone Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.
If you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, you must take part in certain schemes if you are advised to do so by a personal adviser. Your benefit may be affected if you refuse to do so or leave a scheme before completing it.
The Work Experience programme is voluntary to join, but it becomes compulsory after you have accepted an offer of a place.
Details of the Government Employment Schemes that you may be asked to join and details of the benefits sanctions are available from citizensadvice.
Universal Jobmatch is DWP’s free online job posting and matching service.
It is not mandatory for you, the claimant, to give access to your Universal Jobmatch account. Access can only be granted voluntarily by you by ticking a box in your Universal Jobmatch profile.
Universal Jobmatch replaced previous vacancy management services (the Jobcentre Plus jobs and skills search facility).
Benefit Cap & Universal Credit
Job Seekers Allowance counts towards the Benefit Cap. If you’re affected, your Housing Benefit will go down to make sure that the total amount of benefit you get isn’t more than the cap level.
For details on the Benefits Cap follow this link.
From April 2013 a new benefit, Universal Credit (UC), has started to replace many existing benefits and tax credits.
UC is currently being rolled out to certain areas across the UK.
Depending where you live and what your personal circumstances are, you might be able to claim UC instead of Jobseekers Allowance.
For a full explanation of Universal Credit follow this link.