4. How to claim

You can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) online.

You’ll get a text or phone call within 2 working days to arrange a JSA interview at your local Jobcentre Plus.

Reclaim JSA

You can reopen a JSA claim online (sometimes called ‘rapid reclaim’) if you’ve had JSA in the last 26 weeks.

Making a reclaim online should take about 10 minutes.

You still have to attend an interview at a Jobcentre Plus to get JSA.

JSA joint claims

You must make a joint claim with your partner if all the following apply:

  • you both want to claim JSA
  • one of you are 18 or over
  • you’re both under state pension age
  • neither of you are responsible for a child

Contact Jobcentre Plus if you’re not sure about making a joint claim. Contact your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits Office if you live in Northern Ireland.

If you can’t apply online

Contact Jobcentre Plus if you can’t apply online.

Jobcentre Plus
Telephone: 0800 055 6688
Welsh language: 0800 012 1888
Textphone: 0800 023 4888
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
Find out about call charges

JSA interview

You must go to an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus - if you don’t, you won’t get any JSA.

Jobcentre Plus will contact you to arrange this after you’ve applied.

At the interview you must agree things like:

  • what steps you can take to find work, eg improving your skills
  • how you can improve your chances of getting a job, eg get help with writing a CV, preparing for interviews, looking for work

You can take someone with you to a JSA interview.

What to bring to your interview

You need to bring:

  • 2 forms of identification, eg passport, driving licence
  • your P45

Claimant Commitment

A Claimant Commitment is an agreement about what steps you’ll take to look for a job.

Your JSA might be stopped if you don’t do what you’ve agreed to in your Claimant Commitment and you can’t give a good reason.

You must sign one if you make a claim for JSA or claim it again after completing the Work Programme.

You and your work coach will agree what goes in your Claimant Commitment. It might include:

  • what you need to do to look for work, eg registering with recruitment agencies, writing a CV
  • how many hours you need to spend looking for work each week
  • your circumstances, eg work history, health, family or caring responsibilities

Plan and record your job seeking

You’ll have a personal work plan to help you:

  • plan what you need to do to find a job
  • keep a record of what happened
  • prove to your work coach that you’ve been looking for work

If you are a victim of domestic abuse

You might be able to get a break of up to 13 weeks from job seeking if you are a victim of domestic abuse - speak to your work coach if you need this support.

After you’ve applied

You must go to a Jobcentre Plus (usually every 2 weeks or when asked) to show how you’ve been searching for a job. This is known as ‘signing on’.

Appeal a decision

You can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal if you disagree with a decision. You must usually ask for ‘mandatory reconsideration’ before you appeal.

JSA complaints

You can complain about Jobcentre Plus if you’re unhappy with the service you’ve received.