What is JSA?
JSA or Job Seekers Allowance is a form of benefit for unemployed people in the United Kingdom paid by the Government in order to help them, while actively seeking for a job. JSA is part of the social security measures and it was created to help people with living expenses until they find jobs. In England, Scotland and Wales, the Jobseeker’s Allowance is administered by the Department for Work and Pensions and in the Northern Ireland by the Social Security Agency. This article will act as a multi-step guide that will help you to understand how to easily Claim JSA in order to save time and money.
How to Apply for JSA
– Step 1 – Check if you are eligible for Job Seekers Allowance
– Step 2 – Make a JSA Claim, take an interview at the Jobcentre Plus office
– Step 3 – Keep looking for work and sign the bimonthly agreement
You can get Job Seekers Allowance only if you:
– are at least 18 years old
– live in England, Wales or Scotland
– are looking for work
– can start working immediately
– are not studying in full-time education
– are under State Pension age
Types of Jobseeker’s Allowance
After reading all the required conditions for JSA eligibility, you can make a JSA claim. You need to know there are different types of Job Seekers Allowance.
– Contribution-based JSA
– Income-based JSA
– New style JSA over the phone
Contribution-based JSA is also known as Class 1 National Insurance contributions. You can apply for the New Style JSA if you are eligible for Universal Credit or for income-based JSA also known as your income and savings. The type of JSA will be decided by the Jobcentre Plus office if you are eligible for the contribution-based or income-based JSA. If you apply for a “new style JSA” you need to request a different application.
Apply for Contribution-based JSA
You can get this type of JSA only if you paid contributions to the Class 1 National Insurance for at least 2 years before the current benefit year. Your benefit year is starting on the first Sunday in January and will end in the next year on the first Sunday in January. There are different national insurance classes to see if you can get this type of JSA, as you can see below:
- Class 1 – employees under State Pension age earning more than £155/week
- Class 1A, 1B – employers pay directly the employee’s expenses
- Class 2 – self-employed people, only if earning more than £5,965/year
- Class 3 – voluntary contributors to avoid gaps in the National Insurance
- Class 3A – voluntary contributors to top up the pension
- Class 4 – self-employed people with a profit more than £8,060/year
If your partner works or even if you have savings, you can still get a contribution-based JSA.
Apply for New Style JSA
You can apply for a new style JSA if you are eligible for Universal Credit or if you are a single person living in England, Scotland or Wales; if you are a part of a family or a couple that lives in a Universal Credit area. The new style JSA works similar with the contribution-based JSA, meaning that your new style JSA paid it is not affected if you have savings or your partner is working. You can get in the same time the Universal Credit and the new style JSA, or just the new style Job Seekers Allowance on its own. When you take them both at the same time, the JSA payment is deducted from Universal Credit.
Apply for Income-based JSA
For the Income-based Job Seekers Allowance you may apply if you are working less than 16 hours per week, if you have no more than £16,000 in savings or if your partner is working no more than 24 hours per week. Getting a Universal Credit and an income-based JSA at the same time is not possible.
Apply for JSA online
You may apply for JSA online only for contribution-based and income-based JSA. To do that you need to follow some steps.
Step 1 – Enter the JSA Online claim page
The first step you need to take is to go to the Jobseeker’s Allowance Online claim page and Start a new application or Return to a saved application.
Step 2 – Start a new JSA application online
When you Start a new application from this page you need to have a National insurance number, a phone number where you are able to receive a call, you need to be able to complete your own application and you:
– must not have received Employment and Support Allowance in the last month
– must not want to claim JSA from a future date
– must not have an appointee
– must not live in Northern Ireland
– must not want to reclaim JSA if you have finished a training course on a Jobcentre
Step 3 – Review Job Seekers Allowance Conditions
Before starting the application you are advised to check the Eligibility before applying for JSA. You are informed about the questions you are going to answer in the next step, like your previous job, other benefits, training and education. A normal application should not take more than 40 minutes. You need to prepare information about your family, about saving and income, where you are living, if you have to pay rent or mortgage, who is living with you and other details about your education. You will also have to provide information about your bank where you are supposed to receive your JSA payments.
If your JSA application is successful you will be contacted on the phone or by text in two days with details about a visit to the nearest Jobcentre Plus office. You should be waiting for a sign from Monday to Friday, 7 AM to 9 PM and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Sometimes it is possible that an appointment to be on the same day that you fill the application. It is important to know there are 7 waiting days until you get any money from JSA.
Step 4 – Enter your Postcode
In step four you just have to write your postcode and hit save and continue.
Step 5 – JSA Eligibility Check
In step 5 you need to fill your Date of birth, your sex, if you have a partner; a partner meaning that you live with someone as a couple or you are married or you have a civil partnership and your partner is at least 16 years old, the partner is living in the same house or temporarily not at the same address. You have to answer also to the question if you have a young person living with you under the age of 20 years old and if you have claimed before an ESA.
On the next page, you need to answer if you had a JSA at any time before September 15, 2016. Going to the next page, you have to answer if you have savings of more than £16000. If you don’t have, click No and go forward. Review all the information submitted and click Save and Continue.
Step 6 – Get your JSA reference number
Step 7 – Answer to questions about work and benefits
In step seven you have to answer work and benefits details. You are asked if you are available and looking for work, if you have a paid or unpaid job at the moment or if you have restrictions imposed by the Home Office on your working right in the UK.
You are also asked if you have any illness or disabilities preventing you from working and if you are receiving any Housing Benefit. On the next page, you need to answer if you want to claim Housing Benefit and if you intend to claim a reduction in your Council Tax at your local authority.
Step 8 – Enter your personal details
On this step, you need to enter your personal details like the First Name, Surname and Middle name, Relationship status, Nationality and National Insurance Number. Enter all these details and click save and continue. On the next page, you have to tell if you are living in a residential care home, residential accommodation or in a nursing home, you need to provide your contact number, the times when you are available to be contacted and your email address and also some details about family and relationships. On the next step you have to enter your address if you have any disability, your immigration status if it’s the case and if you have worked or claimed any benefit outside of the United Kingdom in the past five years.
Step 9 – JSA Work and Education details
You have to enter in step 9 details about work and education. You will be asked if you receive child tax credit or working tax credit, if you have been temporarily laid off or if your work has been temporarily stopped. You will be asked if you have been in any government training scheme if you are registered currently on a course, if you have been in college in the last 6 months or if you are on work-based learning for your people.
Step 10 – JSA Pension and Benefits
On the step regarding Pensions and Benefits you will need to answer questions about any payments received as a part of Armed Forces Compensation Scheme or if you receive a pension right now or you are expecting a pension in the next three years. You have to answer also if you receive any benefits with mobility if you are waiting for any benefits claimed, if you had any previous benefits or if you have been in a jury service in the last 12 weeks and if you are a carer for someone else.
Step 11 – JSA Housing
In this step you have to answer to questions about your housing status like if you live by paying rent or if you own your home; if you are liable to pay the rent on the whole property if it’s the case, if there are any service charges for the home in which you live, if someone lives with you in this property.
Step 12 – JSA Savings and Investments
In this step, you will have to answer to several questions regarding savings, investments and other income you may have. You have to answer if you have any National Savings Certificates, how you have supported yourself in the last year, if you have any properties, if someone owes you money, if someone pays you a rent or any other form of payments, if you receive money from any other source, or if you own any shares. Also, you have to answer if you have a bank account, a building society account, post office account, cash, money from a redundant payment, a national savings account, money from the sale of a house, money saved for something, premium bonds, or other savings.
Step 13 – JSA Payment and Summary
On the last step, you need to answer how would you like to be paid by Job Seekers Allowance if you want to be paid directly into an account, your own bank account or another person’s account or you may choose to Provide details at a new jobseeker interview.
Step 14 – Review JSA details
On this final step you need to review all the information provided so far, like your personal details, your claim, details about work, current and existing benefits, when your claim will start, where you live, contact information, family, and relationships, if you have any disability, your immigration status, information about tax and previous work, education and training, current benefits, potential benefits, caring, living arrangements, saving, investments and other types of income. If all the information is correct, click Save and Continue and you are ready for an interview, just wait to be called by someone to give you further instructions. You will receive a call within two working days to go to a JSA interview at your local Jobcentre Plus office. You will not be able to receive JSA payment if you don’t take this interview.
Apply for JSA by phone
Applying for a JSA over the phone is possible only for New Style JSA. Call JSA phone number 0345 600 0723 or JSA textphone 0345 600 0743 if you live in a live service area for Universal Credit, from Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM or call JSA telephone number 0345 600 4272 and JSA textphone 0345 600 0743 if you live in a full-service area, from Monday to Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM. You will be charged for calling these numbers depending on the digits starting with and your phone provider.
JSA Interview at Jobcentre Plus Office
After making a claim online for a Contribution-based or Income-based JSA, or for a New Style JSA over the phone, you will receive a phone call or a text within 2 working days from the time of your application for an interview at the local Jobcentre Plus Office. You will have to bring with you three important set of documents: your P45 form, primary identity documents, and secondary identity documents.
- P45 is a form that you got from your former employer when you stop working there and it shows how much salary you had and how much tax you have paid and it has four parts, part1, part 1a, part2, and part3. Your employer must give you this form by law, so you have to ask them for this form
- Primary identity documents include your passport, your driving license, your biometric residence permit, your permanent residence card and your certificate of naturalisation as a British citizen
- Secondary identity documents include your birth certificate, a marriage certificate, your utility bill, bank statement and Council Tax bill
JSA Claimant Commitment
When you are at your Jobcentre Plus Office for the JSA interview, you will have to sign an agreement to look for work called JSA Claimant Commitment with your work coach. This person will let you know what exactly you need to do when looking for work, how to write a CV or how to register with recruitment agencies or how many hours you have to spend looking for a job every week. This agreement will depend on your responsibilities at home, on your health or on how much help you need to find a job.
JSA Benefits Calculator
The amount of money that you will receive from JSA will depend on your age, on your income and savings. People from 18 to 24 years old will receive up to £57.90 per week, people from 25 years old or more will receive up to £73.10 per week and couples will receive up to £114.85 if both are 18 years old or more. JSA Payments are made every two weeks and are being paid to your bank account, a building society or a credit union account.
You can use an independent benefits calculator where you could find how to claim JSA, what benefits you can get or how your benefits are affected when you get a job. These benefits calculators are anonymous and free to use. You can use Entitled to or Turn2us. To use these benefits calculators you will need information about your income, about your savings, existing benefits, and pensions, outgoing such as mortgage or rent, council tax bill. You can not use these benefits calculators if you are a student, a prisoner or if you are under 18 years old if you are not a British citizen or living outside the United Kingdom.
You can have your JSA benefit payment stopped for several weeks and this is called a sanction. You can get three types of sanctions, lower, intermediate or higher level. The sanction can have from 4 weeks to 156 weeks long. You can get a sanction if you haven’t been looking for work, or if you left your last job without a good reason.
You will receive a lower and intermediate level sanction if you don’t go to meeting with your work coach, if you don’t do what this person tells you to do like how to find work, or if you don’t take part in work schemes provided by your work coach. The lower and intermediate sanctions can be from 4 to 13 weeks. You claim can be ended if you are not actively seeking for work.
You can get a higher level sanction of 13 to 156 weeks if you were dismissed from your last job for misconduct, if you left your job for no good reason, if you don’t apply for suitable jobs, or if you don’t take your work coach advice regarding a work scheme.
What Is The Difference Between JSA And Universal Credit
- While for Universal Credit there is no limit to the numbers of working hours on a week, for JSA there is a limit, you can get for example the income-based JSA just if you work less than 16 hours per week.
- Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid usually every two weeks, while Universal Credit is paid every month.
- If you get sanctioned for JSA you can still have your council tax and housing benefit paid, but if you are sanctioned for Universal Credit, these benefits will be stopped for the duration of the sanction.
- For JSA you are required to complete minimum 3 steps each week to find a job, while for Universal Credit you are required to search for a minimum of 35 hours per week and you need to prove that.