Eligibility

There are 3 different types of Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA):

  • ‘new style’ JSA
  • contribution-based JSA
  • income-based JSA

Which types you can get depends on your circumstances.

You can only apply for contribution-based and income-based JSA if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • got or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it

If not, you can only apply for ‘new style’ JSA.

‘New style’ JSA

To be eligible for ‘new style’ JSA you’ll need to have worked as an employee and 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
  • be under the State Pension age
  • not be in full-time education
  • be available to 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 England, Scotland or Wales
  • have the right to work in the UK

You’ll also need to show you’re looking for work to keep getting payments.

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

You can get ‘new style’ JSA for up to 182 days (about 6 months). After this you can talk to your work coach about your options.

Check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit. If you are, you could get Universal Credit at the same time or instead of ‘new style’ JSA.

Contribution-based JSA

You can only apply for contribution-based JSA if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • got or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it

To be eligible you will also need to have worked as an employee and 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
  • be under the State Pension age
  • not be in full-time education
  • be available to 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 England, Scotland or Wales
  • have the right to work in the UK

You’ll also need to show you’re looking for work to keep getting payments.

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

You can get contribution-based JSA for up to 182 days (about 6 months). After this you can talk to your work coach about your options.

Income-based JSA

Your employment in the last 2 to 3 years does not affect your eligibility.

You can only apply if you either:

  • get the severe disability premium, or are entitled to it
  • got or were entitled to the severe disability premium within the last month and are still eligible for it

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 in England, Scotland or Wales
  • be available for work
  • not be working or be working on average less than 16 hours per week
  • not have an illness or disability which stops you from working
  • be single, or have a partner who works for less than 24 hours a week on average
  • have £16,000 or less in savings (including your partner’s savings)

You’ll also need to show you’re looking for work.