Jobseeker’s Allowance


Jobseeker’s Allowance (known as JSA) is the benefit people are paid while they are out of work. It also affects people with illnesses and disabilities, who are increasingly, and controversially, being found “fit for work” and, as a result, tipped into JSA and the many requirements that have been set to receive it. See Disability benefits and support.

There are two different types of JSA:

  • contributions based (worked out from National Insurance contributions and limited to a certain number of days), and 
  • income-based (which takes into account your earnings and savings). 

Most people are required to attend their jobcentre at least once a fortnight to show evidence of their “jobsearch” activities – that they are seeking work. People must sign a jobseeker's agreement or a claimant commitment in which they agree how many jobs they will apply for each week. 

Some people must attend their jobcentres more often than once a fortnight to show evidence that they are meeting their agreement and to sign on. 


Jobsearch requirements are controversial – some people report being forced to show evidence of up to 25 jobsearches a week. 


Benefits for people looking for work
Citizens’ Advice Bureau guide to Jobseeker's Allowance.

Punishing Poverty?
Manchester CAB's excellent report, which reviews benefits sanctions and their impact on clients and claimants from a survey conducted between July and September 2013.