Employment » Unemployment » Jobseeker’s Allowance Update: What Existing Recipients Need to Know

Jobseeker’s Allowance Update: What Existing Recipients Need to Know

By IntFormalities
Updated on March 11, 2024
Estimated reading time: 6 minutes

In the wake of economic ups and downs, from Covid-19 to inflation fears, job security has become a hot topic. While the Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) offered a lifeline, it’s now closed to new applicants. For those still on it or curious about unemployment support, this article simplifies JSA, giving you the lowdown on what it is and what’s next for beneficiaries in these changing times.

How can I qualify for job seekers allowance?
The New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance replaces JSA and ensures people can cope during a period of unemployment.

What Is Jobseeker’s Allowance?

Jobseeker’s Allowance, or income-based JSA, was part of the social security payments that the UK government offered to jobseekers. This tax-free government aid was aimed at UK nationals or permanent residents who were unemployed and searching for work.

Who Can Apply for JSA?

In the past, you could apply for help under this program if you were genuinely struggling to find work and did not have savings or any other reliable and sustainable source of income. As a general rule, you had to be at least 18 years old to receive this help, though the government provides an exception for individuals between 16 and 17 years old. Self-employed persons who paid class 1 national insurance contributions could also access this help.

Please note it is no longer possible to submit new applications for income-based JSA. If you are presently receiving income-based JSA, you will continue to receive payments as long as you remain eligible until your claim expires. JSA has been replaced by Universal Credit and New Style Job Seekers Allowance.

How To Apply for JSA Step-by-Step

Although people can no longer apply for JSA, it was possible to apply online once you confirmed that you fulfiled the requirements. This service was available all year round, so you could apply anytime to start receiving these benefits.

To begin the application process, you had to answer a few questions regarding your location and employment status. Next, you needed to provide your National Insurance Number, fill out the form, attach any necessary documents, and submit the application.

If were successful, you were invited to an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus office. Otherwise, you’d received a letter stating the reasons for refusal. If you claimed this benefit and your request was declined, you could ask for a mandatory reconsideration. You can find out here if your situation allows you to challenge the sanction.

The primary application channel for this allowance was the online service. However, people finding it hard to complete the application over the internet can see additional contact details for Jobcentre Plus

What Do I Need To Bring to My JSA Appointment?

Since this service was reserved for the unemployed and those on a low income, you were asked to provide evidence of your employment status. Failure to do this could result in your application being rejected.

JSA was among the most demanding government services as far as requirements and documentation are concerned. When applying for this program, you had to:

  • Provide a birth certificate or a government-issued ID to prove your age
  • Prove your previous employment (last six months)
  • Provide your National Insurance Number
  • Give bank or building society account information
  • Offer annuity and private pension details
  • Be below the state pension age
  • Not be a full-time learner
  • Be available to pick up jobs
  • Not be working at all or be working no more than 16 hours per week
  • Be healthy
  • Reside in England, Wales, or Scotland
  • Be actively looking for employment opportunities

How Much Is Job Seekers Allowance?

If you still receiving income-based JSA, you will continue to receive payments as long as you remain eligible or until your claim expires. The amount of money you receive depends significantly on your age. Applicants between 18 – 24 years could get £67.20, while everyone 25 years and above would receive £84.80 every two weeks. The money is credited into your bank or building society account.

People who do report a change in the circumstances could cease to receive JSA. Therefore, if you or your partner get a job, don’t forget to inform Jobcentre Plus so they can update your employment status and you can continue to claim JSA.

Can JSA Be Combined with Other Government Programs?

In most cases, applicants receive the jobseeker’s allowance alone. However, if you switch to New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance and the bureau deems your situation fitting, you could also be eligible for Universal Credit. Though both subsidies serve a similar purpose, their longevity is somewhat different. Successful applicants of the New Style JSA receive help for a maximum of 182 days. Whereas, those on Universal credit can continue to receive financial support for as long as they need it.

You could claim jobseeker's allowance with the help of jobcentre plus
Successful applicants of the JSA receive between £67.20 and £84.80 every two weeks for a maximum of 182 days.

How Long Can You Get Jobseeker’s Allowance for?

Once you apply for JSA, you would wait up to one week before receiving your weekly stipend. JSA didn’t have an application deadline, which meant that you could apply anytime. However, you can only receive this aid for a maximum of 182 days. Remember that you must inform the relevant people regarding a change in circumstances. Otherwise, you may lose your right to JSA.

Can You Keep Receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance After You Find a Job?

Some people may still receive this allowance even after getting a job. This is known as an income-based JSA. However, this is only possible for those who are already receiving it as no new applications are accepted for JSA. 

In a Nutshell

Job seekers’ allowance was a fortnightly stipend given to people who do not have a job or have a low income. Eligible individuals could receive between £67.20 and £84.80 per week depending on their age and personal circumstances for a maximum of 182 days. This unemployment benefit has now been replaced by Universal Credit and New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance. So we suggest you read our articles on these topics to learn how to claim the help you need.

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