Looking for a job can be frustrating. Especially if you have to worry about making ends meet while you dash between interviews. If you’re a UK citizen, you might be eligible for job seekers allowance. This is an unemployment benefit awarded to people who are actively looking for a job.
Am I eligible for job seekers allowance?
The job seekers allowance is paid every two weeks into your bank account. The specific amount depends on a range of factors including your age, income, and savings. To qualify, you need to be over 18 but under the State Pension age. You also need to not be in full-time education. There might be some benefits available to you if you’re working part-time. You must also live in England, Wales or Scotland. If you live in Northern Ireland, it’s best to contact your local social security or the Jobs and Benefits office. Additionally, you must not be claiming income support and need to show proof you’re available to work and actively looking. Lastly, for you to be eligible for job seekers allowance, your parents must not be receiving child benefits on your behalf.
What types of job seekers allowance are there?
Depending on your circumstances, you can claim either contribution-based or income-based jobseekers allowance. The latter is based on your income and savings. To be eligible, you must work less than 16 hours a week. Your partner if you have one, should also work less than 24 hours a week. You must also have less than £16,000 in savings.
If you have been employed over the past two tax years, you might also qualify for the contribution-based job seekers allowance. It’s based on your Class 1 National Insurance contributions and you are entitled to it even if your partner works and/or you have enough savings to keep you afloat.
How much will I receive?
The exact sum will depend on your income, savings, and age. As a rule of thumb, if you’re between 18 and 24, you are entitled to a maximum of £57.90 per week. People over 25 can receive up to £73.10 per week, and couples over 18 can file for a joint job seeker allowance and receive a maximum of £114.85 weekly.
In some cases, you may be eligible for extra payments on top of your personal allowance. These are called premiums and you can claim one if you’re already receiving an income-based jobseekers allowance. You can qualify for a premium allowance if you or your partner are disabled, or either one of you is a carer getting Carer’s allowance. Being over the State Pension Age for women is also a means for qualification.
If your application for an income-based jobseekers allowance has been approved, renters may also qualify for Housing Benefits. You may also qualify for help with your health costs and Council Tax Support.
How can I claim job seekers allowance?
The first step is applying online. You can get in touch with your local JobCentre Plus Office to ask them about the procedure.
Once your online application has gone through, you will need to attend an interview at the same local JobCentre Plus Office. Make sure you bring all necessary documentation with you and prepare for the interview. You should have original identity documentation with you such as your driving license or a recent passport. Bring along two pieces of secondary identity documentation as well. One needs to show your current address such as a recent utility bill, and one to prove your date of birth. Additionally, you should also bring your P45 if you have one.
To receive your job seekers allowance, you will need to have a bank account and a sort code. If you don’t already have one of these, make sure to open an account well in advance of the interview. You will also need a National Insurance Number. It’s also a good idea to make a list of the jobs you’ve held in the past 6 months. Include the employer contact details and the dates you worked there. If you have been in work-related training or have taken a course throughout the past 6 months, take a note of the dates and who the training was with as well.
How do I prove I’ve been actively looking for a job?
One of the prerequisites to receive a job seekers allowance is that you should be actively looking for a job. During the interview, you will be allocated to a work coach. This is the person responsible for your case. You’ll need to provide them with the number of hours you’re prepared to work per week. Come up with an estimate of how much you will need to earn as well. Make sure you mention any jobs that you believe you won’t be able to do because of religious beliefs or disability, for instance.
After your interview is over and you are awarded a job seekers allowance, you will need to return to your local JobCentre Plus Office every to weeks. This is for the purpose of proving you’ve adhered to the Claimant Commitment. You will need to sign the Claimant Commitment during your interview. This document outlines how you will be looking for a job. Make sure to keep track of any job applications you make – this will serve as proof that you’re indeed actively looking and ensure you keep on receiving your job seekers allowance. Failure to produce this proof or your work could result in your benefits may stopping for a period of between 4 weeks and 156 weeks (3 years).
If you’re on job seekers allowance but you believe you might be getting a job soon, you might be tempted to opt in for a fast payday loan. However, this may not necessarily be the most financially savvy decision. Even if the job offer falls through, you will still need to pay the loan back with interest.
However, if you have successfully secured a position and are back on your feet financially, we at MoneyBoat are here to tide you over in times of need. Talk to us today to find out more about if a payday loan is the right choice for you.