Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

What is Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)?

Jobseeker’s Allowance is a taxable benefit for people who are below pension age and who are unemployed.

Universal Credit is replacing working age means-tested benefits, including income-based JSA, but some people still receive it.

Newcastle Welfare Rights have useful webpages on Universal Credit.

Am I eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance?

There are two kinds of Jobseeker’s Allowance:

  • Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance for those who have paid National Insurance contributions or credits. For most new claims this is now called ‘New Style JSA‘.
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance for those on a low income

To qualify for Jobseeker’s Allowance, you must be:

  • able to work and looking for work;
  • aged 18 years old or over; and
  • working less than 16 hours per week on average

How much does it pay?

Contribution-based JSA has set rates.

See the latest amounts on Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA): How it works – GOV.UK (

Income-based JSA amounts can be different to that depending on income and savings

Benefit cap

Your benefit(s) may be limited by the Benefit cap.

How to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance

Jobseeker’s Allowance and University Credit

Universal Credit is a new benefit payment that is gradually replacing working age means-tested benefits including Income based JSA. You can now only make a new claim for (contributory) new style JSA and cannot normally make a new claim for income based JSA – instead you would have to claim  Universal Credit.

To apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, you should contact Jobcentre Plus. To find your local Jobcentre Plus office visit Jobcentre Plus Local Office Search – GOV.UK

See the City Council’s pages on The move to Universal Credit

Where can I get benefits advice?

It can be useful to speak with someone about the benefits you may be entitled to and how they may impact upon your other benefits. A local independent advice service can help guide you through the process such as;

There are more benefit advice services in Newcastle. Read the ‘Where to get benefit advice booklet.

Other Useful Information

  • Money Advice Service provides online information on the full range of benefits that you may be entitled to.  This also includes where to find more help and advice.
  • Payment Exception Service was introduced as cheques are no longer used to pay state benefits and Pension credit. Information Now has more details on the service available to those unable to use bank accounts.
  • Telephones article on Information Now has details of a more affordable telephone service if you are in receipt of certain benefits for example, Pension Credit, Income Support, Universal Credit or Jobseeker’s Allowance.
  • You may be eligible for free or reduced NHS prescriptions and other health costs if you receive Income Support; Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance; Income-related Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.  Use the  NHS BSA eligibility checker.

Last updated: November 1, 2023