I’m having problems with my Jobseeker’s Allowance
Claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) always feels ten times more complicated than it should be. When will the money turn up? What age do I have to be to claim and what if my partner moves in with me? We answer the most common questions about JSA.Â
Is there anyone that can help me?
Claiming benefits is often a frustrating process. Here are our recommendations for places to get help:
- Your local Citizens Advice is the best place to get face-to-face advice and support. Remember to bring along details of your benefits and general financial situation.
- For info on when and how to use the Jobcentre read this article.
- If youâre angry or frustrated about your treatment by your Jobcentre or you feel you’ve been discriminated for any reason (including race, religion, gender and sexuality), you can complain.
- Use this government benefits calculator to find out how much money you should be getting.
- If you want to challenge a decision about your benefits, you can appeal.
Help! I haven’t got my money yet
If your money doesnât arrive when you expect it, you should get in touch with your local Jobcentre as soon as possible. If your benefit has stopped because of something youâve done (or havenât done), then read our article here on JSA Sanctions.
I’m not 18 yet. Can I apply for JSA?
If you donât qualify for JSA, you may be able to get Income Support, although again only in certain circumstances.
What if I’m at college or uni?
You canât usually get JSA if you are studying full-time. Although, if youâre a lone parent or part of a couple with responsibility for a child you may be able to claim during the summer holidays.
If youâre studying part-time you might be able to get JSA, but youâd have to be available for full-time work, and youâd be expected to quit your course if you get offered a job. You may be able to do an Open University course and still get JSA.
Can I claim if I’m working?
You can work part-time and claim JSA as long as itâs for less than 16 hours a week. You may receive less money in your JSA if you work part-time depending on how much you earn.
I got a job but then I lost it again
If you earn more in a week than youâd get paid in JSA, then your JSA claim will finish. But if you lose the work within 182 days, you can make a rapid reclaim for JSA online.
I live with my boyfriend/girlfriend
Your partnerâs income or savings wonât affect your contribution-based JSA. However, if youâre on income-based JSA and your partner works 24 hours a week or more you probably wonât get income-based JSA. If you’re both out of work you can claim together as a couple if you’re living together.
Can I go on holiday?
When youâre on JSA, youâre entitled to two weeksâ holiday a year, but only in Great Britain. Let the Jobcentre know that youâre going away. You wonât need to sign on, but will need to be able to receive job information and come home for an interview or start a job at relatively short notice.
You arenât usually allowed to take overseas holidays while claiming JSA. If you plan to go abroad, the best thing to do is to sign off just before you go and make a rapid reclaim online when you get back.
I donât get on with my advisor
Some benefits advisors are great, some are not so great. But as theyâre holding the purse strings, itâs worth trying to get along with them.
Remember, most of the things that are frustrating about claiming benefits and finding work wonât be up to your advisor, so try not to put too much blame on them.
I have a job interview but I’ve got no money
Don’t worry, you can get a loan from the Jobcentre to help with things like travel and smart clothes for interviews. These are called budgeting advances.
There just arenât any jobs!
After 13 weeks on JSA, you may be required to go on a job scheme to help you get work experience. On some schemes, failure to take part could mean you lose some of your benefit.
For more information about job schemes â including voluntary schemes â read this Government Employment Schemes article.