Jobseeker's Allowance

Stamp AcceptedIf you are unemployed, you can claim Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) to help you look for work. There are two types of JSA – contribution-based JSA and income based JSA. The jobcentre will work out which one you are entitled to. If you have made enough national insurance contributions, you could qualify for contribution-based JSA. If you have not, then you could qualify for Income-based JSA. But this is affected by your savings and your income. After October 2013, if you apply for income based Jobseeker's Allowance, you will receive the Universal Credit.

You can claim Jobseeker's Allowance if you:

  • are between 18 and the state pension age (currently 65), although there are some exceptions if you are 16 or 17
  • are not in full-time education
  • are living in England, Scotland or Wales
  • are unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week on average
  • are actively seeking work
  • are able to look for work

Depending on your age, you will receive at least £57.35 a week.


You cannot usually claim contribution-based JSA if you are self-employed. You must have paid enough Class 1 National Insurance to claim this benefit, and self-employed people pay Class 2 or 4 contributions. You could receive income-based JSA, tax credits or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) instead. 

JSA for part-time students

You can claim JSA while studying part-time if you are able to work as well as study, or are willing to stop studying should you find a job.

How to claim JSA?

You can claim by starting a new Jobseeker's Allowance application online or contacting Jobcentre Plus on  0800 055 6688. 

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