November 23, 2017 11:45 am Written by

What is Jobseeker’s Allowance?

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is a type of benefit which is paid by the government to persons who are unemployed but actively seeking employment. The purpose of JSA is essentially to ‘tide-over’ someone during the time between unemployment and employment, whilst incentivizing them to look for work. JSA is not only for the unemployed, as we shall see.


There are two types of Jobseeker’s Allowance: contribution-based JSA and income-based JSA. Contribution-based JSA is what we have described as an allowance for the unemployed who are seeking work. This is best seen as a sort of welfare provision, alongside a reward-system for those who are able to work and are looking to do so. Contribution-based JSA is intended to enable persons to survive between jobs when necessary, not to supplant a job.

This is why it is vital that the applicant be able to prove that they are seeking work. If they cannot do this, they will not be eligible for contribution-based JSA. You cannot receive this kind of JSA(C) if you are self-employed (given that you do not make National Insurance contributions), or if you are receiving some other regular benefit such as a pension.

This is contribution-based because the amount you receive is dependent upon your NI contributions over the last two years (before applying). NI contributions are paid throughout your employment in the form of tax. First-time job seekers, given that no contributions will have been made, will have to apply for income-based JSA.


Income-based JSA is an amount paid to persons who are in work but are in low-income jobs and need additional help in order to live. This type of benefit is relative to one’s earnings and savings; for example, if you have £16,000 or more savings you cannot get a JSA(IB). People who have a JSA(C) may well be eligible for a JSA(IB) also, depending on their circumstances and any additional payments that need to be made that aren’t covered by their JSA(C).

Am I Eligible?

To receive Jobseeker’s Allowance you must:

  • Be able to work and be looking for work
  • Be unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week
  • If working, be on a low-income (specified)
  • Be under the state pension age
  • Have less than £16,000

How to Claim

First, use this benefits calculator to check to see if you can claim JSA. They may well point you to the newer form of jobseeker’s benefit, Universal Credit, which we will debunk below.

If you think you are eligible following the results of the calculator, you can then fill out this online form in order to apply.

Lastly, you will be required to go for an interview at your local job centre in order to properly assess your situation. Here you will be given a personal advisor, whose job it is to help you to think about what sort of work you are looking for, and aid you in implementing a plan for securing not just any job, but a job that you will enjoy and thrive in.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit (introduced in 2013) was introduced in many cases to replace JSA. The idea is that it is a single benefit that is applicable to people looking for work or on a low income, as opposed to the various types of benefit, two of which we have seen above: JSA(C) and JSA(IB).

Claimants are paid monthly, rather than weekly as with JSA. It is designed to act more like a salary than an allowance; for example, if you have a standing order between yourself and a landlord, UC will be paid straight to the landlord. Universal credit is designed to control the way benefits are paid out; claimants may be receiving more than one benefit, whereas Universal Credit is supposed to tie all of those needs together into one benefit payment per month.


Recent Changes to Universal Credit

As announced in this year’s Autumn Budget (2017), the complete implementation of Universal Credit will have happened by December 2018. Further, the week-long waiting period for receiving UC will be removed in February; your first monthly payment will be accessible within five days of making a claim to UC (pending approval). Those on Housing Benefits at the time of their UC application will be able to receive their Housing Benefits money for a further two weeks during the transition phase from Housing Benefits to Universal Credit.

How Much Can I Get?

The amount of money you may receive weekly from Jobseeker’s Allowance varies depending on your age and your circumstances. If you are 18-24, you may receive up to £57.90 per week. If you are 25 or over, the amount rises to £73.10. If you are applying as a couple, the amount is paid to you jointly and can total up to £114.85 per week. In terms of Universal Credit, a single claimant who is under 25 will get the basic allowance of £251.77 per month; £317.82 for those aged 25 or over.

Being on Benefits to Access Guarantor Loan Products

At we are here to advise you when it comes to managing your money. If you are in need of a loan, utilize our guarantor loans comparison table here to quickly and easily get to know the loans market.

However, it must be emphasized that the majority of lenders we work with do not accept both borrowers and guarantors that are on benefits or accepting job seekers allowance. Instead, applications are encouraged to be in employment and earning at least £500 per month in order to be able to make repayments each month without falling into financial difficulty. Depending on the lender, they may not lend to someone with a history of bankruptcy, IVA or CCJ too – so feel free to check the individual terms on our lenders’ pages before applying.

Other exemptions including being on a pension which still provides you that stable income and provided that you can show proof of this, you can be eligible as both a beneficiary and guarantor. For any more questions, feel free to contact us at

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