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9 Welfare benefits
5. If you are unemployed
Jobseeker’s Allowance is paid to you if you are able to work but you do not have a job or you work less than 16 hours a week. There are two types of Jobseeker’s Allowance:
You may qualify for the contribution-based benefit if you have paid National Insurance contributions recently. If you are on a low income, you may receive the means-tested benefit (called income-based Jobseeker's Allowance) based on your needs and income, either on its own or on top of contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
To qualify for benefit, you must prove to the Jobcentre that you are looking for work and you must be available for work (you can’t normally be a full-time student, for example).
If you are claiming contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance by itself, you claim only for yourself. If you are getting any income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, you claim for yourself and a partner who lives with you (including a same-sex partner). Your partner’s income and savings will be taken into account as well when deciding if you can receive income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. You can’t get income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance if your partner works for 24 hours or more a week.
Some couples must make joint claims for Jobseeker’s Allowance, which means they both have to look for work and attend the Jobcentre.
If you apply for income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and you are the parent of a child who lives with you, but the other parent lives elsewhere, you will be treated as having applied to the Child Support Agency. You will have to give information about your child’s other parent, unless this would put you or your child at risk. If you do not give this information, your income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance may be reduced.
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.
Leaflet Version: April 2019
CLS Legal Info Leaflets
(Legal Information Leaflets)