Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

2. What type of JSA you get

You can get JSA based on either:

  • your Class 1 National Insurance contributions - known as ‘contribution-based JSA’, or ‘new style’ JSA if you’re eligible to apply for Universal Credit
  • your income and savings (‘income-based JSA’)

Jobcentre Plus will work out whether you get contribution-based or income-based JSA. You have to make a separate application for new style JSA.

Contribution-based JSA

You may get contribution-based JSA if you’ve paid enough Class 1 National Insurance contributions in the 2 tax years before the current benefit year.

National Insurance Credits can count for part of this, if you get them.

A benefit year starts on the first Sunday in January and ends a year later.


You make a claim on 20 February 2016. This falls in the 2016 benefit year. This means your entitlement will be based on your National Insurance record for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 tax years.

You can get contribution-based JSA even if your partner works or you have savings.

‘New style’ JSA

You can apply for ‘new style’ JSA if you’re entitled to apply for Universal Credit. You’re entitled if you’re either:

  • a single person anywhere in England, Wales and Scotland
  • a couple or family living in a Universal Credit area

New style JSA works in the same way as contribution-based JSA. Your partner’s income and savings won’t affect how much new style JSA you’re paid.

You can get new style JSA on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit.

If you get both at the same time your new style JSA payment will be deducted from your Universal Credit payment - you aren’t guaranteed to get any extra money.

Income-based JSA

You may get income-based JSA if all of the following apply:

  • you work less than 16 hours per week on average
  • your partner (if you have one) works less than 24 hours per week on average
  • you have £16,000 or less in savings

You can’t get income-based JSA and Universal Credit at the same time.