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A Guide to Unemployment Benefits

By: J.A.J Aaronson - Updated: 17 Nov 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Unemployment Benefits Redundancy

Unemployment is an issue that is affecting a steadily growing number of people. The long period of relatively low unemployment enjoyed in this country was rudely interrupted by the recession, and redundancy is now on the minds of many. Very few sectors are immune from the effects of the downturn, and it is therefore important for everybody to understand the help and benefits available to them in the event that they become unemployed.

Jobseekers Allowance

The main unemployment benefit is Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) - what most of us know as the dole. JSA is not granted to everyone who is out of work. Rather, you must be under the state pension age and actively seeking work. The official signing off your JSA at the Jobcentre will try to ascertain whether or not you are actually looking. However, it is possible to claim JSA while still doing some work; it is available to all those doing less than 16 hours work per week.

Jobseekers Allowance is available in either contribution-based or income-based form. Contribution-based JSA depends on the National Insurance payments that you have made over the course of the previous two years. If you have worked full-time and made your full NI contributions for the previous two years, you will receive contribution-based JSA for the full period - currently set at 182 days. Contribution-based JSA is paid at a rate of £51.85 per week for those aged 16-24, and £65.45 for those aged over 25.

Income-based JSA is paid to those who have not made National Insurance contributions. It is only available to those who do not have savings exceeding £16,000, and your entitlement will be reduced if your savings exceed £6,000. Your payments will also be cut if you have any income from part-time employment, or if your partner works more than 24 hours per week. Income-based JSA is paid at a rate of £65.45 per week if you are single, and £102.75 if you are in a couple.

Income Support

If you are unemployed because you are unable to work (for example because you are sick, a carer or a single parent), you may qualify for Income Support. This benefit is entirely means-tested, and is available to those aged between 16 and 59 with savings of less than £16,000. You must also be working less than 16 hours per week. You local Job Centre Plus will be able to advise you on how much you may be entitled to.

Housing Benefit

Housing Benefit is available to those who need help paying their rent. Each area of the country has a fixed maximum level of Housing Benefit to which you might be entitled. This is reviewed monthly in line with rental price changes. Your circumstances will dictate what proportion of this figure you are entitled to. Again, you will not qualify if you have more than £16,000 in savings. There is a significant amount of help available to those who are unemployed; consecutive Budgets have seen increases in the rates of redundancy pay.

If you find yourself unemployed, you should remember that there is no shame in claiming that to which you are entitled. You have been, or will be, a taxpayer, and the state is there to support you. Read more in our redundancy category.

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My wife was getting unemployment benefit back in our EU country until February 2017. She worked in the UK 4 hours for one day per week from September 2016 to June 2017. Is that a problem in order to file for child benefits in the UK.
mordi - 17-Nov-17 @ 4:40 PM
@Nic - it's not like he'd need it for another reason though! Ring up DWP, they'll tell you straight.
PLine - 17-Nov-17 @ 3:47 PM
Hi- if your ex is filling the online form it may automatically ask for spouses details , as it asks for joint claim info if you choose the married option/partner. Partner only needs his details- yours are not relevant- he needs to make a telephone claim and make clear that (if not in a UC area) he is makng a single claim for contribution based JSA. If in a Universal Credit area he will claim New JSA.
chrisjourno - 16-Nov-17 @ 5:32 PM
ela - Your Question:
Hi , I was wondering if I want to claim unemployment benefit , but my last job was in another country but only for a month , and since I came back I didn't work here because I was pregnant and nobody took me. Can I claim unemployment if my last job was abroad ? More exactly in Romania. But before this I worked here in UK for about 2 years.

Our Response:
If you are an EEA national who has come to the UK and you want to claim certain means-tested benefits, you may have to satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test, please see CAB link here .
MoneyExpertise - 14-Nov-17 @ 11:18 AM
My ex husband (decree absolute dated 11/10/17) has lost his job, which he has worked at for about 7 years, and trying to claim job seekers allowance.He has said that my National Insurance number is needed and I am reluctant to give this.Why do they need mine when we are divorced, do not live together and all financial issues have been resolved.
Nic - 14-Nov-17 @ 8:15 AM
Hi, I have been working in a company during the last 9 months in a fix term contract and they have decided to finish it next month, can I get the unemployment allowance? where can I check this? many thanks!
Lis - 13-Nov-17 @ 2:17 PM
Hi , I was wondering if I want to claimunemployment benefit , but my last job was in another country but only for a month , and since I came back I didn't work here because I was pregnant and nobody took me . Can I claim unemployment if my last job was abroad ? More exactly in Romania . But before this I worked here in UK for about 2 years .
ela - 13-Nov-17 @ 2:06 PM
tulisa - Your Question:
My lost his job 2weeks ago and we have claim jsa and we wait to hear back how long does it take

Our Response:
You would have to put this question directly to Jobcentre Plus here.
MoneyExpertise - 13-Nov-17 @ 10:16 AM
my lost his job 2weeks ago and we have claim jsa and we wait to hear back how long does it take
tulisa - 12-Nov-17 @ 10:15 AM
Hi, my dad passed away in march this year, he was not a wealthy man yet what he had including his home which was sold three months ago and completed with the solicitor holding the money is to be shared by us his 4 children as his will directs. My question is the solicitor keeps saying after 3 months of repeated requests he cant release any funds because the dwp says dad was overpaid by £ 1.72p pw for a period of 18 months and that because of a backlog in sorting claims it could take 6 more months or even more before they clear the back log, is this true that it would take so long as ive been told by the local job centre that this isnonsence and should not take more than 3 to 4 weeks maximum.thanks mark
.... - 10-Nov-17 @ 11:33 PM
I am a 66 year old lady on pension .i am homeless my son has offered to rent a property between us .he is working but most of his wages are sent to pay off debts left by his ex. Could I claim half of the rent etc as my half of the tenancy if in joint name
Homeless - 3-Nov-17 @ 2:32 PM
boulty - Your Question:
After living in holland for 20 years I returned to the uk 3 months ago.what unemployed benefits can I claim

Our Response:
If you're a UK or an Irish citizen coming to live in the UK from abroad you may want to claim certain means-tested benefits. Depending on how long you've been out of the country, you may have to satisfy the conditions of a test, known as the habitual residence test (HRT) before you're allowed to make a claim. Please see CAB link, here, which will explain all you need to know.
MoneyExpertise - 31-Oct-17 @ 11:06 AM
after living in holland for 20 years i returned to the uk 3 months ago..what unemployed benefits can i claim
boulty - 30-Oct-17 @ 2:40 PM
P - Your Question:
I am 42 and separated with no dependents working part time (15 hours per week) can I claim any benefits? Or help with my mortgage please

Our Response:
You can find out more via the Entitled To link here , which should help you further.
MoneyExpertise - 24-Oct-17 @ 12:27 PM
I am 42 and separated with no dependents working part time (15 hours per week) can I claim any benefits? Or help with my mortgage please
P - 23-Oct-17 @ 11:21 PM
Doe - Your Question:
I have been living with my daughter for the past 7 years looking after her son he is now in full time education and I’m looking for work part time Can I claim job seekers allowance

Our Response:
Please see the link here, which should tell you all you need to know. However, you may wish to contact your Jobcentre Plus directly, as much also depends upon whether you are up-to-date on your National Insurance payments.
MoneyExpertise - 20-Oct-17 @ 2:36 PM
I have been living with my daughter for the past 7 years looking after her son he is now in full time education and I’m looking for work part time Can I claim job seekers allowance
Doe - 19-Oct-17 @ 9:18 PM
Hi there,im citizen of latvia and been married with uk citizen since 2012 and iv got my daughter she also is brittiah citizen,now me and my now ex partner seperated and i started job which needed to quit due to babysitting and i wonder if i can claim income support
Lyla - 26-Sep-17 @ 5:23 PM
Erbie - Your Question:
Hi I'm starting my own business and I am still employed full time if I was to leave my current employment to pursue my business am I allowed to claim any benefits or is there any financial support out there to help during this period

Our Response:
You may be able to get help via a government-based start up loan, please see link here , but you will have to pay it back.
MoneyExpertise - 19-Sep-17 @ 3:18 PM
Hi I'm starting my own business andI am still employed full time if I was to leave my current employment to pursue my businessam I allowed to claim any benefits or is there any financial support out there to help during this period
Erbie - 16-Sep-17 @ 6:24 PM
Pat - Your Question:
My hours are shortly to be cut to 16 (2 days) per week. I am 63, married and a home owner with no mortgage. My husband is self employed as a builder (he is 70 and still working but really needs to cut down). Will I be able to claim any working tax credits or similar?

Our Response:
You can see more via the Age UK link here which should help give you the information you need.
MoneyExpertise - 15-Sep-17 @ 3:00 PM
Pryce, Flora - Your Question:
My daughter age 30 has recently returned home from a two year working visa in Australia to be told she is not entitled to unemployment benefit for being out of the country even though she has paid national contributions all her working life before she went. She is a British citizen and she has a also been told she has to take some sort of English test to prove her reading/ English skills. Is this for real?????

Our Response:
It is not easy to return from abroad and claim benefits, regardless of whether your daughter has paid her National Insurance contributions, please see link here.
MoneyExpertise - 14-Sep-17 @ 3:21 PM
My daughter age 30 has recently returned home from a two year working visa in Australia to be told she is not entitled to unemployment benefit for being out of the country even though she has paid national contributions all her working life before she went. She is a British citizen and she has a also been told she has to take some sort of English test to prove her reading/ English skills. Is this for real?????
Pryce, Flora - 12-Sep-17 @ 3:51 PM
My hours are shortly to be cut to 16 (2 days) per week.I am 63, married and a home owner with no mortgage.My husband is self employed as a builder (he is 70 and still working but really needs to cut down).Will I be able to claim any working tax credits or similar?
Pat - 8-Sep-17 @ 2:04 PM
Surat- Your Question:
I lost job my age 61 I got 16000 sving I wor k 1984 woht bnefit I gat

Our Response:
Please see Entitledto link here which will help answer your question.
MoneyExpertise - 22-Aug-17 @ 2:45 PM
Johno- Your Question:
My son finished school last year but starts uni in September as he took a year out to work and travel. Since returning from his trip in July he hasn't been able to find a job, is he entitled to any allowance? Thanks

Our Response:
You can find out via the Entitledto link here which should help you further.
MoneyExpertise - 21-Aug-17 @ 2:09 PM
my son finished school last year but starts uni in September as he took a year out to work and travel. Since returning from his trip in July he hasn't been able to find a job, is he entitled to any allowance? Thanks
Johno - 20-Aug-17 @ 5:29 PM
I lost job my age 61 i got 16000 sving i wor k1984 woht bnefiti gat
Surat - 18-Aug-17 @ 11:53 AM
Hello, I have a quick question about about unemployment benefits. My boyfriend and I are thinking about moving to Germany. It is not sure if he will instantly find a job there. Would he be eligible to receive benefits in the UK? WR SSusi
SSusi - 12-Aug-17 @ 3:18 PM
Trish - Your Question:
My granddaughter who is 17 and has left home and living with me and my husband for the time being. She was in college but is not going back. can she claim any benefits while she is looking for a job

Our Response:
By law your granddaughter should be in full-time further education, or working. So, unfortunately she would not be able to claim benefits, except possibly hardship ones. You can find out more via the Turn2Us link here.
MoneyExpertise - 11-Aug-17 @ 11:19 AM
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