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HMRC internal manual

Employment Income Manual

Social security benefits: jobseeker's allowance: summary

Part 10 Chapters 3 and 4 ITEPA 2003

On 7 October 1996 jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) replaced unemployment benefit and income support paid to the unemployed. It is a taxable benefit paid to people who attend an Employment Service Jobcentre to seek work.

Income support continues to be paid after 7 October 1996 but only to people who are not looking for work (see EIM76190).

A person can qualify for JSA either:

  • because he or she has paid sufficient National Insurance contributions. When someone qualifies for JSA on this basis it is referred to as contribution based JSA. Someone can only qualify on this basis for a maximum of six months.
  • through a means test. When someone qualifies for JSA on this basis it is referred to as income based JSA.

A week straddles two years

JSA is reported to the Inland Revenue for the year for which it is due. Where a week falls into two tax years the amount of benefit reported is split between the years concerned.

Procedural aspects of JSA

For the special appeals procedure where the amount of JSA charged to tax is disputed see EIM76300 onwards.

See the PAYE on-line manual for procedural aspects of the taxation of JSA.