How to Claim Unemployment Benefit UK – A Roadmap

Claim Unemployment Benefit in the UKUK

The unemployment in the UK is coming down despite the high political and economic uncertainties prevailing for over the years especially after the Brexit agreement. According to reports released in September 2018, the unemployment rate in the UK is at the lowest level, it is 4%. The figures of people without a job were highly welcomed by the Work and Pensions Secretary- Esther McVey. According to reports, there are almost 1.36 million unemployed people. The figure is 55,000 down since July 2018 and 95,000 down since September 2017. The employment rate for the people aged from 16 to 64 years was recorded at 75.5 %. The unemployment rate is a universal problem but the UK Govt. has made special arrangements to financially help the jobless people survive with a better focus on getting the job at the earliest; the financial help for unemployed comes in the form of unemployment benefits or job seekers allowance.

Three types of Unemployment claim benefits in the UK

There are 3 types of unemployment benefits or Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA):

  • New style JSA
  • Contribution-based JSA
  • Income-based JSA

Which type of JSA you can avail depends on circumstances and eligibility. The income-based JSA and contribution-based JSA can be applied only if you have got severe disability premium until the last month or still eligible to get the severe disability premium further. If it is not so for you, then you are left with ‘New Style JSA’. The ‘new style’ JSA is available for the job seekers, who have paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions during the last 2 – 3 years. The facility is not available for self-employed.

Eligibility for Getting JSA:

Getting JSA is not a complicated task provided you have following eligibility:

  • Be 18 years or over
  • Be under state pension age
  • Be available to work
  • Not be engaged in full-time education
  • Not be working
  • Not working more than 16 hours/week
  • Not have any disability or illness that could stop from working
  • Live in England, Wales or Scotland
  • Are legally eligible for a job in the UK

How Much Unemployment Benefit Can You Get?

Contribution-based JSA per week is paid for 182 days as below:

18 to 24 years age: £57.90

25 years or over: £73.10

You can get this financial help if you have spent enough class 1 National Insurance contributions during the last two financial years.

Income-based JSAper week is paid if you have not spent enough National Insurance contributions as an employee as below.

Single under 25 years age: £57.90

Only 25 years’ age or more: £73.10

Couples aged 18 or over: £114.85

If you have worked in previous 2 – 3 years but out of work at present, you are eligible for ‘new style’ jobseeker’s allowance. ‘New style’ JSA works in the same way as the contribution-based jobseeker benefit. Universal Credit has been introduced in Northern Ireland. If you are resident of Northern Ireland l, you must claim it instead of claiming income-based JSA.

How to Claim Unemployment Benefit:

To claim the unemployment benefit FCA regulated which you are entitled, contact the local Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office. You can apply online also. You are asked to attend an interview. The adviser helps you drawing up ‘jobseeker’s agreement’ that notifies your agreement that you are seriously available to take work. To continue the unemployment benefit, you will have to attend regular job search review meetings usually scheduled at 15 days interval. If you are getting JSA for 13 weeks, a longer review of your efforts is conducted. For the joint claim with your partner, one of you both should be at least 18 years age and neither should be responsible for a child.

Many Entitled Job Seekers Don’t Claim JSA:

According to a report dated 2 January 2018, almost 300,000 British job seekers, forgotten unemployed on a low income, are missing this excellent facility. According to Resolution Foundation, almost £2.9m benefits are lost each week; the majority of unemployed missing this facility are younger men and older women. For many people not claiming JSA, privacy and time-bound reporting are the significant reasons that refrain them from this facility. The individual’s entitlement ends once the income crosses £78 a week.

Here are some FAQs that would make simply your task of claiming JSA:

What should I do to ‘actively’ seek work?

To continue getting JSA, you are expected to show the adviser that you are searching a job action as well you are making the best efforts to improve the chances getting a job like writing a new CV, or updating the existing one. You must be engaged in completing job applications, speaking to potential employers, or attending interviews etc.

What is the meaning of ‘being available for work’?

When you go through the conditions for getting JSA, you often come across the term -being available for work’. At the time of applying for JSA, you must be able to join a job. For example, you must be ready to attend the proposed job interview within 7 days, and, if the position is offered, you must be prepared to join it within 28 days. You must prioritise paid job over educational or voluntary or any other part-time commitment.

Can I claim job seeker’s allowance while being in a part-time job?

Yes, you should tell the JSA adviser about the earning and working hours per week; both the figures affect the claim. If you are working less than 16 hours/week, you are entitled to JSA. If you are a single parent and need to care for your child, then to you can claim JSA even for seeking fewer hours’ job.

Is the volunteering counted as work?

No, volunteer working is not considered as a paid, and you can claim JSA; however, you will have to give priority to get the paid job at the earliest with full efforts. You can continue working as a volunteer even after getting a job.

What will happen if I miss the job search review?

If you see that you can’t attend the scheduled job search review, you must inform the JSA adviser well in advance to rearrange it. Explaining the justified reason for not visiting the interview is also must.

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