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Jobseeker’s Allowance

Jobseeker’s Allowance is the main benefit for people who are unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week and looking for work.  

Who is Jobseeker’s Allowance for?

To get Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must be:

  • unemployed (or working less than 16 hours a week)
  • capable of and available to work
  • actively seeking work
  • not in full time education
  • aged at least 16 and under State Pension age.

Visit’s calculator   to work out your pension age.

How much could you get?

It varies because there are two types of Jobseeker’s Allowance:

  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance: This is not means-tested. It’s paid regardless of how much money you have coming in. It runs out after six months.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance: This is means tested and how much you get depends on your income and savings (and those of your husband, wife or civil partner, if you have one). You may also be able to get help with a mortgage or with your rent and with NHS prescriptions .

How to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you live in Wales, England or Scotland, visit your local Jobcentre Plus, phone 0800 055 6688 (or textphone 0800 023 4888) or visit the website   to start making a claim.

If you live in Northern Ireland, phone 0800 022 4250 or visit the nidirect website   for more details.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a new means-tested benefit that will eventually replace the most means-tested benefits, including income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.This benefit is being introduced in stages. Whether you can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit depends on where you live.

For a list of areas where you can claim Universal Credit, visit the website

Useful links

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