How to apply for a job seeker's allowance

Updated February 21, 2017

Jobseeker's Allowance is a fortnightly payment available to residents in the United Kingdom who are currently seeking employment, or work less than 16 hours a week. To qualify for Jobseeker's Allowance, you must be between the age of 18 and state pension age and actively seeking a job. You can apply for a Jobseeker's Allowance online. Have your tax and bank account details handy.

Select whether you wish to claim contribution-based Jobseeker's allowance, or income-based jobseeker's allowance. You can only claim contribution-based allowance if you have paid enough National Insurance Contributions in the last two years. This amount is recorded on your tax documents at the end of each financial year. Otherwise, you can apply for income-based payments if you're on a low income.

Apply online. Head to the Jobseeker's Allowance page (see Resources) and scroll down to the "How to Apply" section. Click either "Apply for income-based Jobseeker's Allowance online" or "Apply for contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance online" to open a new window. Complete the application.

Attend an interview at your nearest jobcentre. Once your application has been approved, you will be contacted to set up an appointment. During this interview, you will draw up a job seeker's agreement with a caseworker, outlining how you will attempt to find work and the conditions of your payment.

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About the Author

Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.