What is “Jobseeker`s Allowance”? How is eligible and how can one apply?
Jobseeker`s Allowance is a benefit for unemployed people who are looking for work. To be entitled for this benefit you will have to be aged between 18 and Pension age, either unemployed and actively seeking work or working for less than 16 hours per week.
Your eligibility for Jobseeker`s Allowance will also depend on your immigration status. You might not be eligible to receive Jobseeker`s Allowance if you are from overseas or have recently arrived to live in the country. In case you have doubts concerning your eligibility, we would advise you to consult an experienced adviser from the Citizens Advice Bureau (you can find your nearest office of the CAB by following this link) or contact Jobcentre Plus to request an assessment of your eligibility for Jobseeker`s Allowance (please find the contacts of your nearest Jobcentre Plus office by following this link).
There are two types of jobseekers allowance:
1. Contribution-based jobseeker`s allowance: your eligibility for this one is assessed on the basis of the amount of National Insurance Contribution which you have paid while employed. You can only receive a Contributions-based jobseekers allowance for up to 182 days. It amounts to £50.95 (for people aged 16 – 24) and £64.30 (for people aged 25 or over).
2. Income-based jobseeker`s allowance: your eligibility for income-based jobseeker`s allowance will depend on your income (even if you have not paid enough National Insurance Contribution). Your payment rates will depend on your personal circumstances. You will normally be paid Income-based allowance until your income increases. Support under this scheme amounts to £50.95 (for people aged 16 – 24 and £64.30 (for people aged 25 or over) .
! Remember, if you qualify for Jobseeker`s Allowance, you may also qualify for Housing Benefits without having to complete a separate means test.
What is an application procedure for Jobseeker`s Allowance?
· Stage 1: Making a claim contact your local Jobcentre Plus using their Freephone number 0800 055 6688 to make a claim for Jobseeker`s Allowance. You can also apply online through this online application service provided by the Department of Work and Pensions: to apply for Income-based allowance click here, to apply for Contribution-based allowance, follow this link.
· Stage 2: New jobseekers interview Schedule a “new jobseeker interview” in your local Jobcentre Plus. An adviser will help you draft a “Jobseeker`s Agreement” which will outline the steps you will need to take in order to find work. Your adviser will also inform you of the specialist help and advice services available to you to help you with CV preparation, skills training and improvement, etc.
· Stage 3: Fortnight jobseekers reviews (Every 2 weeks) These longer reviews will take place if you have not managed to secure employment within 13 weeks of registering under the jobseekers scheme. On these reviews you will have to report on the actions you have undertaken to secure employment.
· Stage 4: Restart Interview (after 6 months) Attend a “restart interview”: in the interview, discussions with your adviser will focus on any additional help you might receive, such as access to jobs where your employer receives a £1000 subsidy to train you, help to start your own business or become self-employed, voluntary work.
To find out what actions you can take if you disagree with your benefits decision and would like to appeal against it, please follow this link.
We would also advice you to familiarize yourself with this online booklet “If you think our decision is wrong”, produced by the Department for Work and Pensions.
! Remember, you only have 1 month after getting a decision to ask for it to be explained, reconsidered or appeal against it.