Eligibility

Use a benefits calculator to check if you can get Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit before you apply.

You may get Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if the following apply:

  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 or 17 - contact Jobcentre Plus for advice)
  • you’re under the State Pension age
  • you’re not in full-time education
  • you’re in England, Scotland or Wales
  • you’re available for work
  • you’re actively seeking work
  • you work on average less than 16 hours per week
  • your partner, if you have one, works for less than 24 hours a week on average
  • you have signed an agreement to look for work (‘Claimant Commitment’)
  • you don’t have an illness or disability which stops you from working

18 to 19 year olds

You can’t usually get JSA if your parents receive Child Benefit for you.

If you’ve just left education, you won’t be able to get JSA until your parents stop getting Child Benefit for you. You may be able to get Income Support instead.

If you’re 18 or over and you live with a partner who is 18 or over, you can claim with your partner.

Full-time students

If you’re studying for A level or an equivalent qualification, you can’t usually get JSA until you have stopped studying and your parents have stopped getting Child Benefit for you. Child Benefit payments stop after the last day of February, May, August or November (whichever comes first).

If you’re studying for a degree-level qualification

If you have children, you may be able to claim JSA during the summer holiday.

Part-time students

You may be able to get JSA while studying part-time (including part-time Open University Courses) as long as:

  • you take a job if it’s offered to you
  • you do everything you can to look for work, as agreed with your work coach

New or recently returned to the UK

You may be able to get income-based JSA if you can prove you’ve been living in the UK, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland or the Channel Islands for at least 3 months before you claim, and you’re either:

  • a UK national who’s recently returned from abroad
  • an EEA national and you have the right to live in the UK, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland or the Channel Islands