Jobseeker's allowance is paid to unemployed people who are looking for work. Men under 65 and women under 60 may be eligible if looking for work. The amount of jobseeker's allowance you receive depends on your circumstances.
Who can claim?
You can apply for jobseeker's allowance if you are unemployed or working less than 16 hours per week and:
- you are under 65 (under 60 for women);
- you live in Northern Ireland;
- you are looking for work;
- you have signed a jobseeker's agreement;
- you are not in full time education.
Some people can choose either income support or jobseeker's allowance. For example, lone parents or carers.
How can I claim jobseeker's allowance?
When you contact the Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office or Jobs & Benefits Office you will get a claim pack which includes the form for jobseeker's allowance.
You will be given an appointment for an interview with a client adviser. Fill in the claim form accurately and bring this with supporting documents to the interview.
Your client adviser will explain the conditions of jobseeker's allowance. A claim for jobseeker's allowance is accepted when you have filled in the form with complete and accurate information.
How much jobseeker's allowance will I get?
The amount of jobseeker's allowance you get depends on your personal circumstances. The Social Security Agency site has more information on claiming jobseeker's allowance.
How long will I get jobseeker's allowance for?
Contribution-based jobseeker's allowance is paid at a fixed rate based on your age for up to 26 weeks. The amount of contribution-based jobseeker's allowance you get may be reduced if you have a pension over a certain amount.
You can claim income based jobseeker's allowance for as long as:
- you are unemployed;
- you are looking for work;
- your income is low enough to claim income based jobseeker's allowance.
If you are claiming jobseeker's allowance you can claim housing benefit to help with your housing costs.
How is jobseeker's allowance paid?
Jobseeker's allowance is paid to your bank account every two weeks as part of the 'direct payment' system.
What is direct payment?
Instead of order books and Giros, the Social Security Agency uses direct payment to pay your benefits into your:
- bank account;
- building society account;
- Post Office card account.
Contact your local Social Security Office or Jobs & Benefits Office if you don't have a suitable bank account.
What if my application is turned down?
Get advice immediately if you are not happy with any decision made on your application and want to ask for a review. It can be difficult to get decisions changed, but an adviser could help you increase your chances of getting jobseeker's allowance.
If you want the Social Security Agency to review the decision you must:
- apply in writing;
- apply within 28 days of the date of the decision;
- explain clearly the reasons why you think the decision was unfair.
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