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

If you’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week you may be able to get New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

New Style JSA is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit.

New Style JSA is a contribution based benefit. Normally, this means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid and/or been credited with enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.

If you qualify, you can get New Style JSA for up to 182 days. After this your work coach will talk to you about your options.

If you qualify for both New Style JSA and Universal Credit, any New Style JSA you receive will be taken into account as income for Universal Credit.

Why should I claim New Style JSA?

Your savings and capital (or your partner’s savings, capital and income) are not taken into account when claiming New Style JSA. However, your earnings and any payment you are getting from a pension can affect the amount you may receive.

While you receive New Style JSA you’ll be awarded Class 1 National Insurance credits, which can help towards your State Pension and other contributory benefits in the future. It is a regular fortnightly payment.

The following table shows what you may be able to claim depending on your circumstances:

Your situation New Style JSA Universal Credit
You’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week and you need support between jobs.

You’ve paid and/or been credited with Class 1 NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years as an employee.
You can apply for New Style JSA – even if your partner works or you and your partner have savings over £16,000. You can apply for Universal Credit if you (and your partner) have children or housing costs.

You can also apply for Universal Credit if you (and your partner) have £16,000 or less in savings between you.

Your partner’s income will be taken into account as you’ll need to claim Universal Credit as a couple.

Any New Style JSA you receive will also be taken into account as income but you may still get Universal Credit.
You’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week. You need support between jobs and you’ve not paid or have not been credited with any NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years. You’re unlikely to get New Style JSA if you’ve not paid or have not been credited with NI contributions. You can apply for Universal Credit if you (and your partner) have children or housing costs.

You can also apply for Universal Credit if you (and your partner) have £16,000 or less in savings between you.

Your partner’s income will be taken into account as you’ll need to apply for Universal Credit as a couple.
You’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week.

You’ve paid and/or been credited with Class 1 NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years as an employee.

Between you, you and your partner have more than £16,000 in savings.
You can apply for New Style JSA.

New Style JSA is not affected by you and your partner’s savings.
You are unlikely to get Universal Credit because your savings are too high.
You’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week.

You’ve paid and/or been credited with Class 1 NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years as an employee.

Your partner works.

Between you, you and your partner have less than £16,000 in savings.
You can apply for New Style JSA, as your partner’s work does not affect your entitlement. You can also apply for Universal Credit as you and your partner have less than £16,000 in savings.

Your partner’s income will be taken into account as you’ll need to apply for Universal Credit as a couple.

Any New Style JSA you receive will also be taken into account as income but you may still get Universal Credit.
You’re unemployed or work less than16 hours a week.

You receive pension income from previous employment.

You’ve paid and/or been credited with Class 1 NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years as an employee.
You can apply for New Style JSA.

Your pension income may be taken into account.
If you and your partner have less than £16,000 of savings you might also get Universal Credit.

Your pension income will be taken into account.

Any New Style JSA you receive will also be taken into account as income, but you may still get Universal Credit.
You’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week.

You have children.

You’ve paid and/or been credited with Class 1 NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years as an employee.
You can apply for New Style JSA as you’ve paid/been credited with NI contributions so you may qualify.

New Style JSA does not include additional amounts for children.
You can also apply for Universal Credit, as it is a household assessment and you can receive an amount for children.
You’re unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week.

You live in rented accommodation, or have a mortgage or home loan, and need help to pay the cost.

You’ve paid and/or been credited with Class 1 NI contributions in the last 2 to 3 years as an employee.
You can apply for New Style JSA as you’ve paid/been credited with NI contributions so may qualify.

New Style JSA does not include an additional amount for housing costs.
You can also apply for Universal Credit, as it is a household assessment and you can receive an amount for your housing costs.

Eligibility

To get New Style JSA you usually need to have been working within the last 2 to 3 years as an employee, and have paid (or been credited with) Class 1 National Insurance contributions.

You’ll also need to be either unemployed or work less than 16 hours a week.

You must show you’ve been looking for work between making your claim and going to your interview. You’ll also need to show you’re looking for work to keep getting payments.

You cannot claim New Style JSA or Universal Credit if you’re getting Severe Disability Premium (SDP), or if you received SDP in the last month and are still eligible for it. You might be able to claim other benefits.

If you have an illness or disability which stops you from working you cannot claim New Style JSA, but you may be able to claim ‘New Style’ Employment and Support Allowance.

How to claim

You’ll normally apply for New Style JSA online.

Apply for New Style JSA

If you applied online, you’ll get a text to confirm that your application has been submitted.

You do not need to go to an interview at the moment because of coronavirus (COVID-19). You will only be asked for more information if it is needed.

If you cannot apply online, call Jobcentre Plus:

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Relay UK – if you cannot hear or speak on the phone: 18001 then 0800 055 6688
Welsh language: 0800 012 1888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

Below is a document that can be printed out and folded into a handy guide. After opening this document:

  • press Ctrl P or command P to access your print menu
  • the document should automatically reduce to fit the paper size you have selected to print (if not then make sure 100% is selected for A3 or 71% is selected for A4)
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Print and fold: New Style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claimant guide

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Published 6 December 2016
Last updated 10 April 2020 + show all updates
  1. The guidance on how to apply has been updated because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  2. New Style Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) content updated and print and fold guide added.

  3. Removed references to Universal Credit full service and live service.

  4. Updated page to reflect that new claims to Universal Credit can now be made by households with more than 2 children.

  5. Updated Welsh version to reflect how the severe disability premium might affect a claim.

  6. Added information about Severe Disability Premium and how it may affect your claim to new style Jobseeker's Allowance.

  7. Added translation

  8. Next Generation Text (NGT) relay and Welsh language telephone line numbers updated.

  9. How to claim section updated and Next Generation Text number added.

  10. Updated to show that Universal Credit is now available everywhere in Great Britain.

  11. Universal Credit live service telephone helpline opening hours changed to 9am to 4pm.

  12. Added translation

  13. Added translation

  14. Added translation

  15. Added information about if you have more than 2 children.

  16. 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.

  17. Updated guide with new 0800 freephone numbers for Universal Credit.

  18. How to claim new style Jobseeker's Allowance information updated.

  19. First published.