CLS Direct - Home Page

Site Map | Feedback | Key Shortcuts | Help   

9 Welfare benefits

pdf icon

Download Welfare benefits (PDF File, 208kb)

1. Introduction

2. If you have a low income

3. If you are having a baby or adopting a child

4. If you have children to look after

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:

  • contribution-based; and
  • means-tested (income-based).

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.


6. If you are ill and can't work

7. If you have a disability

8. If you are just starting work

9. If you have retired or are about to retire

10. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies

11. Where do I claim?

12. What must I do when I claim?

13. What if I disagree with a decision about my claim?

14. What if I've been badly treated?

15. The Human Rights Act

16. Further help

17. About this leaflet

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

go to top of page

CLS Legal Info Leaflets

Find a local Advisor

Enter your postcode or town to find a local advisor.

CLS Legal Information Leaflets Legal Factsheets CLS Fund & Charges Legal Aid Calculator Other Links Using Advice Search Topics Using the Directory Nationals & Helplines Categories of Law Charges Complaints News Quality Mark Information for Providers