What is Job Seeker's Allowance? 

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) is a benefit for people who are looking for a job.

If you receive JSA you will usually be paid every 2 weeks.

You can receive:

  • up to £58.90 if you are aged 24 or younger
  • up to £74.35 if you are aged 25 or older
  • up to £116.80 if you are in a couple (both aged over 18).

The amount of money you get depends on things like your age, income and savings.

Use this benefits calculator to see how much JSA you could get and how it might affect other benefits you get.

Types of JSA

There are 3 types of JSA, they are called:

  • 'new style' JSA
  • contribution-based JSA
  • income-based JSA.

The type of JSA you get depends on your circumstances.

We have explained each of these in detail in the sections below. Click on the name of each type of JSA to reveal more information about it.

'New style' JSA

To get ‘new style’ JSA you need to have worked as an employee and paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years. (National Insurance credits can also count).

Class 1 contributions are made when you earn more than £183 a week and are under State Pension age.

You also need to:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • be under the State Pension age
  • not be in full-time education
  • be available for work
  • not be working at the moment (or be working less than 16 hours per week)
  • not have an illness or disability which stops you from working
  • live in England, Scotland or Wales
  • have the right to work in the United Kingdom.

You also need to take steps to look for work. 

If you are in a couple, your partner’s income and savings will not affect your claim.

You can get ‘new style’ JSA for up to 182 days (about 6 months). 

Contribution-based JSA

You can only apply for contribution-based JSA if you get the severe disability premium (or you are entitled to it) or you have got it within the last month and are still eligible for it.

You also need to have worked as an employee and paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years. (National Insurance credits can also count.) 

Class 1 contributions are made when you earn more than £183 a week and are under State Pension age.

You also need to:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • be under the State Pension age
  • not be in full-time education
  • be available to work
  • not be working at the moment (or be working less than 16 hours per week)
  • not have an illness or disability which stops you from working
  • live in England, Scotland or Wales
  • have the right to work in the United Kingdom.

You also need to take steps to look for work. 

If you are in a couple, your partner’s income and savings will not affect your claim.

You can get contribution-based JSA for up to 182 days (about 6 months).

Income-based JSA

Your employment in the last 2 to 3 years does not affect your eligibility for income-based JSA.

You can only apply for contribution-based JSA if you get the severe disability premium (or you are entitled to it) or you have got it within the last month and are still eligible for it.

You’ll also need to:

  • be aged 18 or over
  • be under the State Pension age
  • not be in full-time education
  • be in England, Scotland or Wales
  • be available for work
  • not be working (or be working on average less than 16 hours per week)
  • not have an illness or disability which stops you from working
  • be single, or have a partner who works for less than 24 hours a week on average
  • have £16,000 or less in savings (including your partner’s savings).

You also need to take steps to look for work.

 

How to apply for JSA

Applying for 'new style' JSA

You can apply for 'new style' JSA online on the GOV.uk website.

To apply you will need your:

  • National Insurance number
  • bank or building society account details (or those of a family member or trusted friend)
  • employment details for the past 6 months (including contact details and dates)
  • private pension statement letter.

Applying for contribution or income-based JSA

You can apply for contribution or income-based JSA by phoning Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688.

If you are applying for income-based JSA, and you and your partner are not responsible for a child, you must apply with your partner (this is called making a 'joint claim').

Challenging a decision about JSA

You can challenge a decision about your claim. This is called asking for a ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

You must do this within a month of receiving the letter that told you that you had been turned down. If they do not change their decision, then you can appeal.

A tribunal will decide whether to change the decision. More information is available from the government's website, GOV.uk

Try to get an adviser to help you with your appeal. You can find advisers in your local area.

Useful resources

We've created some useful factsheets and precedent letters (which are designed to address complex legal situations) to help you know your rights and when to get advice about a problem.

You can access these on our Information and advice resources page.

If you need advice on completing a letter, please contact the Learning Disability Helpline.

How to get the support you need

Contact the Learning Disability Helpline, our advice and support line, for guidance and information about what support we can offer you.

Or why not take a look at our online community? This is a place for parents and family carers of people with a learning disability to share experiences, advice and support.

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