To be eligible for New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) you’ll need to have both:

  • worked as an employee
  • paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years (National Insurance credits can also count)

You will not be eligible if you were self-employed and only paid Class 2 National Insurance contributions, unless you were working as a share fisherman or a volunteer development worker.

You’ll also need to:

  • be 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 or 17 - contact Jobcentre Plus for advice)
  • be under the State Pension age
  • not be in full-time education
  • be available for work
  • not be working at the moment, or be working less than 16 hours per week on average
  • not have an illness or disability which stops you from working
  • live in the UK

While you receive JSA, you’ll need to take reasonable steps to look for work as agreed with your work coach.

Your savings and your partner’s income and savings will not affect your claim.

You can get New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) for up to 182 days (about 6 months). After this you can talk to your work coach about your options.

Claiming Universal Credit and New Style JSA

You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of New Style JSA.

If you get both benefits, your New Style JSA payments:

  • count as income when claiming Universal Credit
  • will reduce the amount of Universal Credit you receive

Your New Style JSA will usually be paid more regularly than Universal Credit. You’ll also get different National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension and help you qualify for other benefits.

Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.