Unemployment figures are now showing that just over 2 million people in the UK are out of work, this unfortunately means that when you are out of work you are not earning. Fortunately there is an allowance where if you are unemployed and available for work, you could qualify for something called Jobseeker’s Allowance depending on your circumstances.
To qualify for JSA, you must meet the following requirements:
•Be available for work
•Be able to work
•Be actively looking for work
Also you have to be under the state pension age, live in UK and not be working or working for an average of less than 16 hours per week.
There are two types of Jobseeker’s Allowance: Contribution-based and Income-based.
Income-based JSA (IB) is given to you if you are on low income, even if you have not made any National Insurance contributions in the past.
Contribution-based JSA (C) is dependent on your NIC record and is paid for a maximum period of six months. However if you did not earn enough to pay NICs, you many still be entitled to get JSA(C) if you were given NIC credits. This would have happened, if you were earning more than the lower earnings limit (£90 a week in 08/09 and £95 a week for 09/10), if you were unemployed or unable to work because of illness, and in some other circumstances.
If you are unemployed and either 16 or 17, usually you do not receive JSA unless you are forced to live away from your parents and will suffer severely if you don’t receive JSA or if you or your partner are responsible for a child.
If you are on JSA(C), you will receive £47.95 if you are aged 16-24and £60.50 aged 25 and over per week. For JSA (IB), you will receive a maximum weekly rate depending on your circumstances:
•Single people aged 16-24 – £47.95
•Single people aged 25 and over – £60.50
•Couples and civil partnerships (both aged 18 or over) – £94.95
•Lone parents (aged under 18) – £47.95
•Lone parents (aged 18 and over) – £60.50
Your payments might be reduced if you receive income from part-time employment or you will get less if you have savings over £6,000 and if you have savings over £16,000 you probably will not qualify.
In certain cases, a claimant’s Jobseeker’s allowance may be stopped.
One reason would be that you did not actively seek work or sign the Jobseekers Agreement. If this happens, your benefit will be automatically suspended until the date you complete and sign the agreement. Once this has been signed, you are still not guaranteed back all of your benefit, as a decision maker will decide how much you get back, if any.
Other reasons why your Jobseekers allowance could be stopped is if you miss a restart interview, if you voluntarily leave work or refuse a notified vacancy or if you refuse to attend a compulsory scheme or fail to comply with Direction. Doing any of the above could result in you missing a month’s benefit or having to renew your claim, which could take months.
If you wish to make a claim for Jobseekers Allowance, follow this link and it will take you to Job Centre Plus where you can type in your postcode to find your local Job Centre.
Taxfile’s tax agents hope you found this useful, and if you have any more queries regarding Jobseeker’s Allowance why not pop into our offices in South East London and Exeter. Our accountants and tax advisers would be happy to assist.