Guidance

New style Jobseeker's Allowance

You may be able to claim new style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) with, or instead of, Universal Credit, depending on your National Insurance record.

Overview

You may be able to get new style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if you live in a Universal Credit full service area.

You may also be able to get new style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if you live anywhere else and:

  • are already claiming Universal Credit
  • have 1 or 2 children and are returning to Universal Credit within 6 months of a previous claim that ended due to high earnings
  • are returning to Universal Credit within 6 months of a previous claim

You will need to have worked as an employee and paid enough National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 full tax years before the calendar years in which you make your claim. If you do not have enough they can be topped up with class 1 National Insurance credits that you have received.

You can get new style JSA for up to 182 days. After this your work coach will talk to you about your options.

You can get new style JSA on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit.

If you claim both benefits, the new style JSA you are paid will reduce your Universal Credit payment by the same amount.

If you have more than 2 children

If you have 3 or more children and are not returning to Universal Credit within 6 months of a previous claim that ended due to high earnings, you will not be able to get new style JSA.

You may be able to claim contribution-based or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance or an alternative benefit instead, such as Employment and Support Allowance or Income Support, along with Housing Benefit and Child Tax Credits.

Differences between new style JSA and Universal Credit

The differences between new style JSA and Universal Credit are:

• new style JSA is paid to an individual, Universal Credit is a single household payment

• new style JSA doesn’t take into account any savings you have or other income you may be receiving

• if you have a partner who is working, their earnings, savings or other income does not affect your new style JSA payment

• Universal Credit can include money for your rent or childcare costs, new style JSA doesn’t

• new style JSA stops if you work 16 hours a week or more (on average), Universal Credit looks at earnings you get, not the number of hours you work

• new style JSA is paid every 2 weeks and Universal Credit is paid every month

Payment of new style JSA

New style JSA is paid every 2 weeks into your bank, building society or credit union account.

What you’ll get

Age Weekly rate
Up to 24 years up to £57.90
25 and over up to £73.10

For each week you are paid new style JSA you will be credited with a class 1 National Insurance credits credit which counts towards State Pension and contributory benefits.

If you get new style JSA, you will get Class 1 . These count towards your State Pension and some other benefits.

In some circumstances you may only get these credits and no money. This is known as a ‘credits only’ claim.

How to claim new style Jobseeker’s Allowance

The way you claim new style JSA depends on where you live.

If you live in a Universal Credit full service area

If you live in a Universal Credit full service area, you will need to make your claim to new style JSA online.

If you can’t claim online call:

Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Find out about call charges

If you don’t live in a Universal Credit full service area

If you don’t live in a Universal Credit full service area, you can claim new style JSA by calling:

Telephone: 0800 328 9344
Textphone: 0800 328 1344
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Find out about call charges

If you’re not eligible to claim Universal Credit in your area, then you won’t be able to claim new style JSA. You may be able to claim contribution-based or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance instead.

Published 6 December 2016
Last updated 24 May 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added translation
  2. Added translation
  3. Added information about if you have more than 2 children.
  4. Updated for changes to who can claim new style Jobseeker's Allowance from 1 January 2018 if you don't live in a Universal Credit full service area.
  5. Updated guide with new 0800 freephone numbers for Universal Credit.
  6. How to claim new style Jobseeker's Allowance information updated.
  7. First published.