For Families and Carers : JSA

To get Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) you have to be unemployed, capable of work, available for work, and actively looking for work.

Universal credit has replaced both income related JSA and ESA in some areas. You should still claim contribution-based JSA if you qualify as it is only income related JSA that has been replaced by Universal Credit.

The Work capability assessment for UC is the same as it is for ESA.

JSA has two parts:

  • Contribution-based JSA – This can be paid for the first 26 weeks of unemployment, if you have paid enough national insurance contributions.
  • Income-based JSA – This can be paid during the job-seeking period if your income and savings are low enough. The means test is very similar to the means test for Income Support. Income-based JSA can be paid on its own or together with contribution-basedJSA.

Should you claim Employment and Support Allowance or JSA?

Some people, including many young people with Down’s syndrome, could claim either Employment and Support Allowance or JSA.

Young people with Down’s syndrome should claim Employment and Support Allowance rather than JSA at the age of 16. Once they have been assessed, they will get more money on ESA. They will also get more appropriate help in looking for work, if that’s what they chose to do.

For information, go to GOV.UK’s Jobseeker’s Allowance section, or look at Disability Rights UK’s JSA factsheet.

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