Your JSA claim

When you apply to claim JSA, your work coach will make an agreement with you to look for work. This agreement is called a ‘Claimant Commitment’.

Your Claimant Commitment could include:

  • what you need to do to look for work - for example registering with recruitment agencies or writing a CV
  • how many hours you need to spend looking for work each week

You should continue to do all the things you have agreed to do if you can do them safely. You must still follow the guidance on working safely during coronavirus.

You can search and apply for work using the ‘Find a job’ service.

You must tell Jobcentre Plus if your circumstances change, for example you start working or your income changes.

Attending regular appointments

Your work coach will arrange appointments with you every 1 to 2 weeks.

At these appointments, you must show your work coach what you’ve been doing to look for work, for example proof of job applications and interviews.

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

When payment can be stopped

Your JSA payments can be stopped for a period if you do not do something your work coach asks you to do. This is called being ‘sanctioned’. For example, if you:

  • do not take part in an appointment with your work coach
  • do not accept or keep to your agreement to look for work
  • turn down a job or training course
  • do not apply for any jobs you’re told about
  • do not take part in any interviews you’re invited to
  • do not go to any training booked for you or take part in employment schemes
  • leave your last job or training without good reason or because of your behaviour

Contact Jobcentre Plus as soon as possible if any of these apply to you. You may be able to keep your payment if you have good reason.

You’ll be told how long your payment will be stopped for. It could be between 4 weeks and 26 weeks (about 6 months).

If you want to know how long your JSA payment could be stopped for, read part 3 of the guidance on JSA sanctions.

If your JSA payment is stopped

If your payment is stopped, you should keep looking for work. Your benefit payment could be stopped for longer if you do not.

If you disagree with the decision to stop payment, you can ask for the decision to be looked at again - this is called ‘mandatory reconsideration’.

If you disagree with the outcome of the mandatory reconsideration, you can appeal to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal.

You should continue with any JSA claim until the dispute is settled.

If you claim Housing Benefit or Council Tax Reduction

You should contact your local council immediately. They’ll tell you what to do to continue getting support.

If your claim is ended

Your JSA claim may be ended if you’re not available for or actively seeking work. You can apply again straight away, but your payments will be stopped for a period of either:

  • 4 weeks if it’s the first time your claim has been ended
  • 13 weeks if a previous claim has been ended within the past year

Hardship payments

You may be able to get a hardship payment if your JSA payments have been stopped. You do not have to pay it back.

A hardship payment is a reduced amount (usually 60%) of your JSA.


You can get a hardship payment if you cannot pay for rent, heating, food or other basic needs for you or your child.

You must be 18 or over.

You’ll have to show that you’ve tried to find the money from somewhere else, such as borrowing from a friend or working extra hours.

How to claim

Speak to your Jobcentre Plus adviser or work coach to find out how to claim a hardship payment.

Jobcentre Plus

Telephone: 0800 169 0310
Textphone: 0800 169 0314
Welsh language: 0800 328 1744
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm
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