How to calculate a Job Seeker's Allowance

Updated April 17, 2017

Jobseeker's allowance is a government-administered unemployment benefit offered to citizens of the United Kingdom. The Department for Work and Pensions is responsible for paying jobseekers' allowance. To be eligible for this benefit, you must be working fewer than 16 hours a week, be between the ages of 18 and the age at which you are eligible to receive a state pension, and actively seeking a job. Only in rare circumstances is jobseeker's allowance paid to 16- and 17-year-olds.

To calculate the jobseeker's allowance for which you may be eligible, you will need to take a few things into consideration.

Determine the type of jobseeker's allowance for which you may qualify. Contribution-based jobseeker's allowance is available if you have paid enough national insurance in the last two years. If you have not paid enough into this system, you may qualify for income-based jobseeker's allowance.

If you are, indeed, eligible for contribution-based jobseeker's allowance, use your age to determine your maximum benefit. Benefit amounts are given as weekly rates. The current maximum weekly rate for people aged 16 to 24 is £51.85 and will be lower than the rate for persons aged 25 and older. These rates fluctuate constantly, depending on the economy and other factors. Contact Jobcentre Plus with the necessary information to make sure you know the current maximums.

Allow for your household, as well as your age, if you are eligible for income-based jobseeker's allowance. Single people without children will receive the same amount as they would via contribution-based jobseeker's allowance. Couples and singles with children will receive larger amounts. These specific numbers are also subject to change, so contact Jobcentre Plus to get specific amounts.

Account for any occupational or personal pension you currently receive. This may decrease the amount of your benefit.

Be sure to also take your household income and savings into account for income-based jobseeker's allowance. These items can also result in receiving less than the maximum weekly benefit offered by Jobcentre Plus. Note that income and savings will not affect contribution-based jobseeker's allowance.


There is no publicly available formula to calculate the specific amount for which you may be eligible, because Jobcentre Plus takes every unique situation into account. By knowing the maximum amount available and by taking other factors into consideration, you will have a good idea of your eligible benefits.

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About the Author

David Somerset has been a writer intermittently for 11 years. He attended New Mexico Tech and earned a Bachelor of Science in technical communication in 2007. From being published in the "Bucksworth Community News" to writing how-to articles for eHow, his experience is quite diverse.