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Job Seekers Allowance (JSA)

Who is it for?
Those registered unemployed and looking for work. Two types of payment – contribution-based (CB) and income-based (IB).

Who pays it?
JobCentre Plus

Which leaflet? And how is it claimed?
JSA L5, Helping You Back To Work. Claim at JobCentre Plus office. Claims will normally be made by phone (0800 0556688) and followed up with a work-focussed interview at Job Centre Plus but paper claims are still acceptable and claimants should not be refused access to them.  .

What are the age limits?
Up to pensionable age only.


National Insurance based?
Yes, for contribution-based JSA. No for income-based JSA.

Means tested?
Yes, for income-based JSA.

How long does it last?
Contribution-based JSA lasts for 6 months only. Income-based JSA is similar to Income Support.

What is effect on other benefits?
Contribution-based JSA overlaps with NI benefits and counts in full for means tested benefits.

Is it taxable?
Yes.

Increases for dependants?
No, for adult or child dependent on contribution-based JSA.  Same rules as income support for those on income-based JSA.

Payable if in EU or other?
Contribution-based JSA is payable for up to 3 months subject to EU law. Income-based JSA is not.

Points to watch
All occupational and personal pensions over £50 will affect JSA(CB). ‘Sanctions’ applied if claimant does not keep JSA agreement or leaves work voluntarily without good cause (unless redundant). Various ‘New Deal’ schemes (under 25s, lone parents, disabled workers) on offer but to be replaced by Flexible new Deal. From April 2010 young claimants to do 4 weeks compulsory work if unemployed after 10 months and to make all those unemployed for 2+ years to do community work in exchange for JSA.

Help with mortgage interest is possible within JSA calculation. From January 5th 2009, this help is to be given after 13 weeks on benefit (was 39) and with mortgages up to £200,000 (was £100,000) but JSA claimants will only get this help for a maximum of 2 years.

Lone parents with youngest child aged 10 or over will be switched to JSA if getting Income Support. Lack of suitable child care may be acceptable reason for turning down offer of work. By October 2010, lone parents with children aged 7 or over will have to claim JSA not Income Support.

You can view details of benefit amounts on the Community Care Inform website

The A-Z of Benefits 2009 was compiled by Gary Vaux and Community Care Inform

 

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