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You are here: Benefits Guides  |  Jobseekers Allowance

Jobseekers Allowance

Only New style JSA (Contribution Based JSA) is now available for most new claims, Income Based JSA has been replaced for most new claims by Universal Credit for most people unless they have or have had the Severe Disability Premium (SDP) in another means tested benefit in which case they still have access to Income Based JSA.

The Jobseekers must either satisfy the Contribution-based conditions or the means tested Income-based conditions for the benefit along with the SDP included to be payable.


The Jobseeker's Allowance personal allowance is taxable. Any amounts payable above the personal rate are not taxable, e.g. Premiums for children.

Jobseeker's Allowance is paid to unemployed people or people who work under 16 hours and their earnings are low.

Income Support can be paid instead to people who are in the following categories but only if they have the Severe Disability Premium:

* A Lone Parent with a child under 5 from October 2011 living with them;
* Caring for a severely disabled person or a member of their family who is temporarily ill;
* A Disabled person whose earnings are reduced because of their disability;
* A Student (who qualifies for Benefit);
* Pregnant and within 11 weeks of the expected date of confinement;

An unemployed person will be entitled to New Style Jobseeker's Allowance if they:

* Are available for employment;
* Have entered into a Jobseeker's agreement;
* Are actively seeking employment;
* Satisfy the contribution-based conditions;
* Are not engaged in remunerative work;
* Are capable of work;
* Are not receiving relevant education;
* Are under pension age.

Groups such as lone parents and carers have the choice of claiming Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance if the SDP is involved.

To qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance a person must be unemployed or working on average less than 16 hours a week, and have income below set amounts. Partners of people receiving Income-Based Jobseeker's Allowance are able to work for, on average, up to 24 hours a week, without the claimant losing entitlement.

For those people who work part-time, the first £5.00, £10.00, or £20.00 of their earnings are ignored.

The standard disregard is £5.00 a week for single people £10 weekly for couples, but a higher £20 disregard is available to the following groups:

Jobseeker's Allowance (Income based):-

* Lone parents entitled to the Family Premium (Lone Parent);
* Disabled people entitled to the disability premium;
* Certain people aged over Female retirement age;
* Carers entitled to the carer premium.

Jobseeker's Allowance (Contribution based):-

* Share fishermen.

Jobseeker's Allowance (Income based & Contribution based):-

* Members of certain specialist groups e.g. part-time fire fighters and

In Jobseeker's Allowance (Income based) couples have the first £10.00 of their earnings disregarded.

When working out benefit entitlement earnings in excess of the above disregarded amounts are taken into account on a £1 for £1 basis.

No allowance is made for any employment expenses, e.g. fares to work.

People who are working for, on average, 16 hours or more a week (24 hours or more in the case of partners in Jobseeker's Allowance (Income based)) are not normally eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance.

Exceptions to the above are:

* Certain carers and trainees;
* Volunteers;
* Childminders;
* People living in a residential care or nursing home;
* Special occupations i.e. life boatmen, part-time firemen, Territorial Army,
Volunteer Reserves and coastguards.
* Local Councillors and foster parents;
* In certain circumstances, people involved in a trade dispute;
* Disabled people with low earnings due to disability;
* Share fishermen claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (Contribution based).

For these people, there are no restrictions on the hours they can spend doing this type of work and still remain eligible to claim Jobseeker's Allowance.

Earnings are taken into account in the normal way, although some have a higher £20.00 disregard.

Jobseeker's Allowance is paid fortnightly in arrears.

Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance will be limited to six months.

Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance will be paid for as long as the person's income is less than the applicable amount and the conditions for benefit are met.

Rates of Jobseeker's Allowance (Effective from April 2020).

Contribution Based Personal Allowance

£58.90 - 16 to 24 year old's

£74.25   - 25's or over

The conditions for contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance are based on National Insurance Contributions from previous tax years.

A personal allowance of contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance will be payable for six months irrespective of capital or partners income. There will be no child or Adult Increases payable.

Income based Personal Allowance

£58.90  - 16 to 24 year old's

£74.35   - 25's or over


£89 both under 18

£116.80 both / one 18 or over

Dependent Children

£68.27 from birth

Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance will be structured on Income Support with a personal allowance and additional premiums payable to claimants with dependants and / or special needs. New claims after April 04 will need to claim additions for children via Child Tax Credits.

Housing costs (mortgage interest) will also be paid where appropriate after 39 weeks, this is now a repayable loan for most people.

Recipients of Jobseeker's Allowance (Income based) will normally qualify for full-rate Housing Benefit without having to complete a separate means test.


Jobseekers Allowance along with other benefits is being replaced with Universal Credit for most new claims unless the SDP is involved.

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