What is Jobseeker’s Allowance, also known as JSA? How much could I get? How can I apply? If you are unemployed, you may be eligible for this benefit. Then, you would be able to receive both help to find work, and money. Your Benefits will walk you through everything you need to know about Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
What is JSA?
Jobseeker’s Allowance is a benefit that is aimed at helping you find work. Additionally, it pays you money to help you with unemployment. You may have heard of this benefit under the names of “income based” and “contribution based” JSA. If you were already receiving this benefit, you will keep being paid. This is until your claim ends.
How much is JSA?
There is a cap on how much Jobseeker’s Allowance you are able to receive. However, the main factor that dictates your payment amounts is how old you are. More specifically, if you are 24 years or younger, you will receive one amount. However, if you are 25 years or older, you will receive a different amount.
You are paid weekly. Additionally, like most other benefits, payments are made directly to your credit union, building society or bank account.
|Jobseeker's Allowance rates in 2022
|How old you are
|Weekly payment amounts
|24 years or younger
|£59.20 or less
|25 years or older
|£74.70 or less
You will receive this for a maximum of 182 days, or about 6 months. After this amount of time has passed, you may talk about what you can do with your work coach. This is the person assigned to you who will tell you what you need to do to keep getting JSA. This mainly include looking for work.
When will I receive Jobseeker’s Allowance payments?
You may have to wait for your first payment. In fact, your Jobseeker’s Allowance could begin up to 7 days after applying. Additionally, you could receive your first payment up to an additional 2 weeks later.
Following your first payment, the following payments will typically be sent every 2 weeks. Additionally, they will consist of the full JSA amount that you are entitled to.
What is a JSA claimant commitment?
If you apply to JSA, and are eligible, you will have to agree to a Claimant Commitment. This is something that you will make with your work coach.
Your Claimant Commitment consists of things you will have to achieve in order to find a job. You will have to stick to it to continue to receive JSA.
This includes things such as making or updating your CV, as well as sending it to possible employers. Your work coach will check in with you periodically to make sure that you are sticking to your Claimant Commitment.
What is new style Jobseeker’s Allowance?
“New style” Jobseeker’s Allowance is the new form of the benefit. You probably knew the benefit under its previous names, ‘income-based’ and ‘contributions based’ JSA.
If you already earn JSA, you will continue to earn those old versions of JSA if your circumstances stay the same. Then, you will receive payments until the end of your claim, which is usually 182 days, or about 6 months.
Additionally, if your payments stop, you could be able to earn Universal Credit. With Universal Credit, you will also have to adhere to a Claimant Commitment with your work coach. As such, if you were eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance, you are likely also eligible for Universal Credit.
Am I eligible for new style Jobseeker’s Allowance?
A couple of things must be true for you to be eligible for new style Jobseeker’s Allowance. In fact, the two following conditions must be true for you:
- You were previously an employee
- You made Class 1 National Insurance contributions or earned National Insurance credit (typically, this applies for the past 2 or 3 years).
If you were self-employed, you will likely not qualify. This is if you made Class 2 National Insurance contributions. However, this does not apply if you formerly worked either as a volunteer development worker or a share fisherman.
What also needs to be true for me to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance?
For you to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance, one of the following must also apply:
- Your country of residence is England, Wales or Scotland;
- You either are working less than 16 hours weekly (on average) or not working at all currently;
- You are able to work, if you find some;
- A disability or illness does not keep you from being able to work;
- You are not a full-time student;
- You are younger than State Pension age;
- Your age is 18 years or older. Exceptions exist for those who are 16 or 17 years old. If you have any questions, you can notify Jobcenter Plus.
Your savings will not impact your JSA claim. Additionally, the income and savings of your partner will also not impact your claim.
How to apply for JSA
Before you apply for new style JSA, it is a good idea to verify if you are eligible. Once you have done so, you may apply. Otherwise, the application process will quickly tell you if you are eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance or not.
Those under 18 years old may not apply online. If this is true for you, or if you need to apply in an alternative format, contact Jobcentre Plus. In order to make your claim, you will need some information. Indeed, be sure to have your:
- Private pension statement letter;
- The details of your employment within 6 months, which includes the dates that you were working with your employer, as well as their contact details;
- The details of your building society or bank account, which can be the details of the account of a family member or a friend that you trust;
- National Insurance number.
You may want to claim JSA again. Additionally, the information that you provide may not have changed from the first time you claimed. However, you will still need to provide this information.
Backdate JSA claim
You may want to backdate your Jobseeker’s Allowance claim. Indeed, this can be done for back to 3 months before you made your claim. However, you may do so only if you have a good reason for which you did not apply sooner.
You will need the following information:
- Why your claim was done later than it should have been done;
- When you want your claim to start (you will give a date).
Note that you really require a good reason to not have been able to claim this benefit earlier. If you do not have such a reason, you may not be able to backdate your claim. The following are examples of possible reasons:
- You did not receive accurate information about Jobseeker’s Allowance;
- You experienced the death of a family member or a partner.
What happens after I submitted my application for Jobseeker’s Allowance?
After you applied, you will receive a text once the submission of your application is confirmed. Then, you will be contacted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) within 10 days of you submitting your application.
If you are eligible, you will need to participate in a phone interview. Typically, you will be contacted within 1o days of submitting your claim. Moreover, it will usually be conducted by a work coach. They most will often come from your local Jobcenter Plus office.
Then, you will agree on a Claimant Commitment. This is an agreement that you make with your work coach. Indeed, first, you will confirm your identity during the phone interview. Then, you will agree on what you will do to find work. It can include the following:
- The number of hours you spend weekly searching for work;
- The steps you will take to search for work: this can include anything from making your resume to making a registration to a recruitment agency.
However, you may need additional help in order to follow the interview. If this is the case, contact Jobcenter Plus. Indeed, you may do so if you:
- Are impacted by a health condition or disability. For example: you may be unable to go through with a phone interview;
- You need someone to translate the phone interview for you, and do not know anyone who can do so.
You may not be eligible. If this is the case, you will receive a letter saying so from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Indeed, it will tell you why you are not eligible to earn this benefit.
You may ask for a mandatory reconsideration, if you disagree with the decision taken on your claim. This means you will challenge it. Additionally, you may be unhappy with the service that you received. In this case, you can submit a complaint to Jobcenter Plus.
Will I keep getting JSA?
Your JSA Claimant Commitment ensures that you take steps to continue to look for work. In fact, you will have to attend appointments with your work coach every week or couple of weeks. You will need to provide proof of the work that you have been doing to find work. This can include proof of interviews and job applications.
Note that your Jobseeker’s Allowance payments can stop if you do not do something that your work coach asked of you. Indeed, you would then be sanctioned. This could be true if you:
- Either do not participate in an employment scheme or go to a training that you were scheduled to attend;
- Were scheduled for an interview that you do not attend;
- Do not send your applications to jobs that are available to you;
- Chose not to attend a training course or job;
- Stop seeking employment;
- Miss a meeting with your work coach.
Not only that, but you could also be sanctioned for additional reasons. They are as follows:
- You leave your previous training or job: this can be in part because or your behaviour or for no reason in particular;
- Your pay is reduced because of something you did at your job: this can be due to your behaviour, or because you decided to take a pay cut for no good reason;
- Cannot start working as soon as possible.
If one or some of these apply to you, but you have a good reason, contact Jobcenter Plus. You may be able to keep receiving payments.