Jobseeker's Allowance is an unemployment benefit in the United Kingdom. Introduced in 1996, it provides financial support to individuals looking for work. It is paid fortnightly straight into a person's bank account, and the individual must attend fortnightly meetings at the local jobcentre Plus premises to discuss his job search. To be eligible for Jobseeker's Allowance, an individual must fulfil certain criteria.
There are two types of Jobseeker's Allowance. Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance can be claimed if you have paid in enough National Insurance contributions while you were employed. Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance is based on the amount of income and savings you have. You will be asked to supply details of your bank accounts, share holdings, pensions and household income to determine if you qualify.
Jobseeker's Allowance is available to UK citizens who are aged 18 years or over but are below state pension age. As of 2011, the current state pension ages are 65 years for men and 60 years for women. Jobseeker's Allowance is only paid to individuals aged 16 or 17 years in exceptional circumstances -- for instance, if an individual has become estranged from her family and suffered financial hardship accordingly -- although there are other unemployment benefits, such as income support, that are also available.
To claim Jobseeker's Allowance, you must be available for, medically capable of and actively looking for work. You will be asked to demonstrate the measures you have taken to look for work at fortnightly meetings at your local jobcentre Plus, such as which jobs you have applied for, the companies you have approached and any activity you have undertaken to increase your employment prospects.
Jobseeker's Allowance is not just for eligible people who are out of work; it is also available to those who work, on average, 16 hours a week or less. You will be asked to show evidence of the amount of work you do each week and the pay you receive from it.
To receive either type of Jobseeker's Allowance, you generally have to reside in Great Britain. If you move abroad permanently, you cannot claim Jobseeker's Allowance even if your relocation is temporary. You may get contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance if you move temporarily to a country inside the European Economic Area and, if you are entitled to the benefit on the day you go abroad, have registered as a jobseeker at least four weeks before you depart, are available for and actively seeking employment in Britain up to the day of departure, are going abroad to look for work, register at the equivalent of a jobcentre Plus in your new country and comply with that country's rules on looking for employment.