Losing your job can be a particularly stressful time, especially when it comes to managing on what are usually very limited finances. In order to be able to support yourself and your family, it is vital to understand which out of work benefits you could be entitled to.
Out of work benefits: Jobseeker’s Allowance
This is the main benefit that you may be entitled to if you have lost your job.
In order to check if you could be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance, you can use a .
By entering information about yourself including your outgoings, savings and any income, you can find out which benefits you may qualify for.
Jobseeker’s Allowance is split into two categories: Contribution-based JSA (also known as ‘New Style’ JSA) and Income-based JSA. Take a look at the for more information.
You may also be entitled to other support from the Government, such as tax credits.
is gradually replacing Jobseeker’s Allowance. You may be told that you need to claim Universal Credit instead. This must be claimed online.
How to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance
Claiming out of work benefits can be done in a few simple steps.
If you find out that you could be eligible, you may then want to make a claim. This can be done .
After submitting your claim, you will then be contacted by a Jobcentre Plus near you, usually within 2 working days. This is so that they can arrange an interview with you.
Items to bring to your interview
You should always check with your local Jobcentre Plus exactly what you need to bring.
However, you will be required to take your P45 to the interview, plus two forms of identification. What you can use as identity documents is listed on the .
At the interview, you will be required to sign an agreement to say that you will be looking for work. This is known as a ‘Claimant Commitment’.
You must stick to this commitment (which can vary from person to person, depending on circumstances) or your Jobseeker’s Allowance could be stopped.
What happens after the interview?
If your claim is successful, you should be given a ‘work coach’. This person is there to help you draw up a plan to search for a job.
You may be told that you need to participate in a .
You will also be required to go to the Jobcentre Plus every 2 weeks. During this appointment, you should show your work coach evidence of what you have been doing to find a job. This could include job applications, for example.
How much could I be entitled to?
The exact amount varies, depending on things such as your savings and how much other income you have.
However, there is a maximum amount (correct at the time of writing), which is set at:
£57.90 for 18-24-year-olds
£73.10 for those aged 25 or over
£114.85 for couples who are both aged over 18
When do I get paid?
Jobseeker’s Allowance payments are normally paid directly into your bank account every 2 weeks.
Am I entitled to out of work benefits if I have been sacked?
If you have been sacked, there may be a delay before you can start to receive any Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit.
This may also be the case if you have left your job “without a good reason”.
Your work coach at the JobCentre Plus may stop your benefits from being paid in these instances. How long this lasts is up to your work coach.
Other out of work benefits
As well as Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit, you may be entitled to support such as Housing Benefit or help with your council tax.
If you own your own home, you could be entitled to help with your mortgage interest payments.
For more information about out of work benefits, head to the .
Change in circumstances
It is essential that you inform Jobcentre Plus if your circumstances change. You may also need to tell HM Revenue & Customs.