Renfrewshire Council

Job Seekers Allowance

Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) is a benefit that can be paid to people who are unemployed and available for work.

There are two types of Job Seekers Allowance — Contribution Based and Income Based.

To claim JSA you need to be actively looking for work and:

  • over 18 but below State Pension age
  • unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours per week
  • living in England, Scotland or Wales, and
  • have a Jobseeker's Agreement.

16/17 year olds may only qualify in special cases.

Contribution Based

You may be paid Contribution Based JSA if you have paid enough National Insurance Contributions for the last two complete tax years, for example, 2012/13 and 2013/14.

There is a limit of 182 days for payment of Contribution Based JSA. The amount you will receive is not affected by any savings or other income that you receive.

Income Based

If you have savings over £16,000, you will not qualify for Income Based JSA.

Any income and savings that your family have will be used to calculate how much you are entitled to.

Jobseeker's Agreement

To get Job Seekers Allowance you must have a jobseeker's agreement. This will set out the things you've agreed to do to find work.

You must meet regularly with a Jobcentre Plus adviser to show that you're able to start work and are looking for a job.

If you do not carry out the agreed steps your benefit may be affected.

Actively looking for work

These are the things you must do each week to find work or improve your chances of getting work.

The things you should do each week will be set out in your jobseeker's agreement. These could include writing a CV or speaking to employers.

If you do not carry out the agreed steps, your benefit may be affected.


Your benefit may be sanctioned, ie withdrawn, for up to 26 weeks if you do not comply with your Jobseeker's Agreement, leave a job without good cause, are dismissed because of your own actions or refuse work or training.

If your JSA is stopped, you may be able to claim a Hardship Payment if you are in a vulnerable group.

You have the right to appeal your sanction. Advice Works can assist you with this.