Economic times can make it difficult for some individuals to successfully find a job. Even candidates who are fit and highly qualified, may find it a challenge to secure employment following a lay-off. Jobseeker's Allowance is an unemployment benefit available to citizens of the United Kingdom over 18 and under retirement age. Administered through the Jobcentre Plus, a national organisation that helps get people back to work, it is available to those who are actively seeking work and have paid sufficient National Insurance contributions. The amount that an individual is able to receive depends upon his circumstances, such as the amount of savings he has and the income of his partner. Jobseeker's Allowance may also be available to individuals in part-time education or training.
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Go to the Jobcentre Plus website (see Resource) to set up an account and fill in the online application form. Or you can pick up a form at any Jobcentre Plus office or request one by phone at 0800-055-6688.
Make a note of your ID number and password if applying online. This allows you to access your registration form if you want to save it and submit it later.
Complete your application by answering questions about your circumstances, current and previous work, education and training, and detail any other benefits you claim. Be aware that your application may be delayed if you give incorrect or incomplete answers.
Submit your application either online or by post. An agent from Jobcentre Plus will contact you within two days of receiving the application to arrange for an interview at your local office.
Attend your Jobseeker's Allowance interview. Take a copy of your application with you as well as any documentation requested, which may be previous payslips or bank statements. The interviewer will also discuss what you can do to look for work.
Wait for a decision. Following your interview, your application will be assessed, and you will receive a decision in writing with details of the amount you are liable for and how often you must attend a Jobcentre Plus job search review. It is the responsibility of Jobcentre Plus to make sure you are actively looking for work.
Tips and warnings
- Apply for Jobseeker's Allowance as soon as you become unemployed. Processing the registration will take some time. Applying immediately after you lose your job ensures you get help with your living expenses as soon as possible.
- If a person is not free to accept work, does not look for training or work or does not have a current jobseeker's agreement, she could be disqualified from receiving the Jobseeker's Allowance. If an individual claimant turns down an offer of work or leaves a job or training without a valid reason, she could lose her Jobseeker's Allowance.
- Apply for Jobseekers Allowance on the very first day you become unemployed. Even if you are approved for the Jobseekers Allowance, your claim will not be processed and paid out right away. Applying for job seekers assistance as soon as you lose your job will help to ensure you are able to receive funds as quickly as possible to contribute toward all of your incoming expenses.
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