Requirements for getting unemployment benefit in the UK

With millions of British workers still unemployed, others are following them onto the unemployment books. If you are one of them and have never been unemployed before, getting unemployment benefit can be a bit confusing, especially if you're not sure about the requirements.

Luckily, all you have to do to be eligible for unemployment benefit in the UK is to fall within these four categories, and then it just means a trip to your local Jobcentre to sign up.

When Can You Claim Unemployment Benefit? (JSA)

There are four main categories you must fall under to be able to sign up for unemployment benefit or Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) n the UK.

You must want to work - As your Jobcentre will tell you, to sign up for unemployment benefit you must be "available for, capable of, and actively seeking work". That means, if you are just claiming JSA to get some quick money but have no intention of looking for a job, put simply - you are not eligible.

Age requirements - JSA is not available to anyone regardless of their age. In fact, the UK has strict age requirements. You must be over the age of 18 and under the age of when you can draw your pension. That means, if you are 17 or 70, you cannot get unemployment benefit in the UK except in very special circumstances.

Not working more than 16 hours - You are allowed to claim unemployment benefit if you have a part-time job, as the government figures few people can survive on a part-time wage. However, you are not allowed to already be working more than 16 hours a week. If you are, it might behove you to cut back your hours to 15 so you can claim JSA, if you cannot survive on that part-time wage.

Can't claim from overseas - If you are living anywhere else but the UK, you cannot get JSA. So, yes, you may be British and unemployed in Bangkok, Thailand, but the UK government isn't going to give you unemployment benefit until you are back on British soil.

Follow The JSA Rules

Of course, there are always people who try to break the rules and figure out a way of getting unemployment benefit when they are not entitled to it. It's honestly safer not to.

Your local Jobcentre employees are not stupid and, eventually, they'll find out you are getting JSA and shouldn't be. The trouble that can get you into really isn't worth it. Being honest from the start is.

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