Job Seeker’s allowance is a reprieve for those who have not yet found stable jobs to settle in. If you are actively searching for a job, or you are between jobs, you may be eligible for JSA – Job Seeker’s Allowance. Job Seeker’s Allowance is paid for qualified persons who are unemployed or individuals on low income who are actively looking for a job.

If your National Insurance contribution premiums are low, you may qualify for a non-means-tested contribution based job seekers allowance, and if you don’t have enough National Insurance, you may be eligible for means-tested income-based job seeker’s allowance.

Contribution-based Job Seeker’s Allowance

Contribution-based job seeker’s allowance is available for individuals with adequate National Insurance contributions and has been in employment for at least two tax years. Based on the eligibility, age, and personal circumstances, the following options of JSA are available:

  • Persons between the ages of 16 and 24 years – £57.35
  • Individuals over 24 years of age – £72.40

Contribution-based JSA is available for only six months, although individuals may qualify for income-based JSA following this JSA. You may also qualify for income-based JSA after the contribution-based JSA if you have a disability, you are on a low income and you have a partner, you are taking care of a person with a disability, or you are taking care of housing costs such as paying a mortgage.

Income-based Job Seeker’s Allowance

This type of JSA is available for individuals who haven’t paid enough National Insurance contributions and they have no income or are on meager income. Based on the eligibility, age, and personal circumstances, the following options are available:

  • Single persons under the age of 25 years – £57.35
  • Single persons over the age of 25 years – £72.40
  • Couples, both 18 years and above – £113.70
  • Single parents over the ages of 18 years – £72.40
  • Single parents below the age of 18 years – £57.35

Income-based JSA is based on an individual’s circumstances, and this implies that current incomes and savings over £6,000 will affect the total amount awarded to an individual.

Eligibility For Job Seeker’s Allowance

Before you can claim JSA, you must satisfy the following conditions for eligibility:

  1. You must be over 18 years
  2. You must not be claiming any pension
  3. You must not be in full-time education
  4. You must be living in Wales, Scotland or England
  5. You must have the ability and willingness to work
  6. You must be working less than 16 hours a week

If you want to claim JSA and you have a partner, they must be working for less than 24 hours a week for you to be eligible. Additionally, both of your savings must not be more than £16,000.

For self-employed individuals, claiming contribution-based JSA may not be easy since you don’t pay the same type of national insurance as the employed guys. But you may still be eligible for income-based job seeker’s allowance, employment allowance, support allowance and other tax credits.

How To Claim Job Seeker’s Allowance

If you are eligible, claiming JSA is very simple. You can do it either by making an application online or calling Jobcentre Plus for free on 0800 055 6688. You will then be required to attend an interview at your local Job Center Plus where you will discuss with your adviser your next cause of action in finding work. You may consider improving your skills through various training schemes, getting help with CV preparation and interviews, etc.

Once you settle on a plan of action, your adviser will make a record of it on the jobseeker’s agreement, which both of you will review after every two weeks to check if you are doing as you had agreed. Once your JSA claim is awarded, the payments will be backdated to when you made the application, then paid every two weeks in your bank account.