Help And Advice With JSA

Welcome

This is the Yourcounty Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) page, rather than copy or repeat information held elsewhere we've attempted to use our own experience and that of our users to provide a realistic description of the JSA, point out problems and pitfalls and add some value by sharing relevant feedback where we have it. In this sense if you have experience of Jobseekers Allowance, good or bad we'd welcome your comments, our contact details are at the foot of the page.

In essence the JSA is a state benefit for unemployed people who are: ready, willing and able to work and actively seeking employment. If you are unable to work or not seeking employment there may be other benefit(s) that you are eligible for.

JSA - How Much Money Can You Get?

There are two forms of JSA, a Job Advisor at your local Jobcentre Plus will be able to work out which may apply to you. In most cases the system is fairly simple, a claimant will fit neatly into a particular category, make a claim and get paid. There can be difficulties claiming if you fall outside of these neat pre-defined boxes.

Contribution based JSA may be available if you have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions. The benefits can be up to:

  • £56.25 if you are between 16 and 24 years old
  • £71 if you are 25 years old or over

If your National Insurance contributions haven't reached the minimum threshold and if you are on a low income you may be eligible for income based Jobseekers Allowance, payments are to a maximum of:

  • £56.25 if you are a single person under 25
  • £71 if you are a single person aged 25 or over
  • £111.45 for a couple where both people are aged at least 18
  • £71 for a lone parent aged at least 18 and
  • £56.25 for a lone parent under the age of 18

Payments are usually made fortnightly. These details are correct at the time of writing but subject to change, please check with www.gov.uk/benefits for the current position as well as the full range of benefits that may be available to you.

Known Issues With JSA Claims

You should always have the Jobcentre Plus check your right to claim, don't just assume you can't receive the allowance. In addition you can use other reliable organisations as sources of help or to double check your status or benefits (the CAB or a local authority benefits advisor for example). We share some of the issues that we are aware of here, these may be of interest to potential JSA claimants as well as saving some time.

  • UK residents only; if you're not living in the UK or have recently moved here or if you can't demonstrate that you have been living here you may meet problems.
  • Full time students are not able to claim JSA, part-time students may be able to claim.
  • If you work more than 16 hours a week you may not be able to claim.
  • You need to claim as soon as possible, there are a number of problems with trying to make a claim retrospective.
  • You typically have to be within the normal employment age to claim, that means under the national retirement age.
  • An existing pension may impact on a contribution based JSA claim.
  • Household income and savings may impact on income based JSA claim.

If you have any other issues you'd like to add to those here please let us know.

How To Claim JobSeekers Allowance

You can visit your local Jobcentre Plus in the first instance for more information. We detail other channels for your application below, if you have any feedback about making your application we'd like to hear from you.

  • You can apply online at: www.dwpe-services.direct.gov.uk
  • You can apply by phone at 0800 055 6688 and textphone at 0800 023 4888 (Monday to Friday 8 to 6)

Making A JSA Claim In Northern Ireland

The system is different if you're making a claim in Northern Ireland. You can get more information by visiting the NI Direct website and following the links to the Social Security page at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/contacts/contacts-az/social-security-jobs-and-benefits-offices.htm.

Appeals And Complaints

If you have an issue with Jobseekers Allowance that you're struggling to deal you could get some advice from your nearest CAB. If you're unhappy with a decision about your JSA you can appeal against it. A downloadable appeals form is available from www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance.

Help For Freelancers And The Self Employed

We're still seeing some complaints about the lack of help being made available to self employed and freelance job seekers. We're researching this at the moment and will come back with more details when our investigations are complete.

Feedback & Disclaimer

If you find that any links are broken or content out of date let us know. This is a page under constant improvement. We welcome feedback from users with direct experience of these services and issues. Please see our disclaimer.