Things every jobseeker should know (and JobCentres don’t want you to) – Part 2: travel costs

(This the second part of my series of tips for jobseekers. You can read Part 1 on how to avoid 0845 numbers here.)

Sadly, my  jobseeker’s allowance application was turned down.

This came as a shock, as, when I started working again last April, I was told by the JobCentre that if I took a temporary job, which was the case, I would be able to sign back on very quickly once I had finished it.

What I didn’t realise was that “signing back on” did not mean being paid jobseeker’s allowance (JSA). Bizarrely, one can be registered as a jobseeker without receiving any jobseeker’s allowances.

Two years’ work or no dole

The grounds for refusal were that I had not paid enough National Insurance contributions in tax years 08/09 and 09/10 – the two years when I was studying/not working. It took me three phone calls, all of them to an 0845 number, until a helpful adviser finally explained to me that having worked and paid taxes in 2010 did not make me eligible for claiming JSA this year, nor will I be eligible again, until I have worked for two consecutive tax years.

This is not something even JobCentre employees may not be fully aware of. If you have not worked (and paid NI contributions) for TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS prior to the tax year in which you applied for JSA, you are not eligible to the dole. Even if you are middle-aged and have worked your entire life, only those two years prior to your unemployment are what counts. Fair? Unfair? Let’s not even go there…

Are there any other benefits I can claim?

Yes. Housing benefit and council tax benefit (call your local council re these), working tax credits, etc, which are means tested: you will have to declare the amount of savings you have, and your partner’s, if you have one. If your partner works, you must declare his/her income as well. Beware that, as a general rule, only households with an income or savings of less than £16,000 are likely to be eligible. It is worth making enquiries anyway.

Are there any advantages in staying signed on if my claim has been turned down?

a. As long as you continue attending the Job Centre on your sign-on days, every fortnight, you can receive NI contribution credits. This means you can continue to build up your state pension entitlement. Read up on it on this page on

b. Here’s a valuable tip your JobCentre may not have told you about. JobCentres nationwide have been affected by government cuts, and money is being trimmed wherever possible, so unless you ask about it, they may not offer it to you. DO ASK.

Even if you are not eligible to JSA, or even if your JSA has ran out (you can only claim for so many weeks), as long as you’re “signed on”, you can ask your local JobCentre to help cover costs of your “travel to interview”.

JobCentres can cover your travel costs to job interviews IF they occur outside your area. If you are not sure if where you are going is within that area or not, ask your JobCentre.

What do I need to claim travel expenses to interviews?

You must be able to provide proof that it is a genuine interview at a genuine company. If the interview was arranged by phone, ask the company or recruitment agency to send details to you in writing – a letter or email including contact telephone, contact person’s name and address should do. The JobCentre often calls your interviewer or agent to verify you did attend the interview.

As a rule JobCentres can only give you vouchers in advance, not in arrears, so make sure you call them as soon as you the interview day and time are set, even the day before. They will give you  an appointment for you to come (with your evidence) and collect a RAIL VOUCHER, which you can give to the train conductor and exchange for a suitable train ticket. No cash is handed to the jobseeker, obviously to prevent fraud.

If you need to drive to the interview, you must prove that is the cheapest (or only) way to get there. Should you need travel so far that you would require an overnight stay, the JobCentre may also be able to contribute towards your accommodation costs (don’t expect a five-star hotel of course).

If you’re going anywhere that takes more than, say, 40min to get to, it is worth checking with the JobCentre about any financial help you may be entitled to. But ask nicely.

The ‘travel to interview’ vouchers are about the only motivation I now have for staying signed on, while enduring the morally degrading experience that JobCentres can be. With return train tickets to London from where I live costing almost £20 (at off-peak times), and with no dole money to rely on, this perk is a life saver.

For those on the breadline, struggling to feed themselves or their family, JobCentres are also expected to start giving away food vouchers from April. More on this BBC article.

You’ve heard it here first.


Filed under Unemployment

199 responses to “Things every jobseeker should know (and JobCentres don’t want you to) – Part 2: travel costs

  1. Great advice, may I publish it on my blog?

    Will credit and link to source.

    • Hi there,
      Thanks for your helpful comments. Yes, of course you can, as long as I am credited and linked to etc., the usual.🙂

    • Julie

      What about income based JSA ? Sorry if this has been mentioned in a different ‘part’. I had not worked for a few years due to looking after disabled family members. I separated from my husband and the family income dropped to virtually zero (I’m not eligible for carers allowance) So I had to look for work. The job centre did a means test they do not include any equity in the property in which you live in the calculation (but will take savings or property you may have an interest in over £16 into account). I don’t get the full amount of JSA but I do get £40 a week and entitlement to all the things which being in receipt of income based jsa gives you. Such as the NEST scheme in Wales (I think there are equivalents in the rest of the UK) which is helping me get my heating back up and running FREE.

    • Julie

      Apologies for sending another comment so soon after my last. I was distracted while proof reading and have just realised I wrote equity or savings over £16! Oops… I meant £16,000. Sorry. I’d also like to say thank you for your helpful blog!

    • Woah! Hang on a second! Can I just butt in with a hole in your story. If you are not working and have not paid enough national insurance, you can claim INCOME BASED jobseeker’s. This is a trick used by the jobcentre to keep their number of claimants down. Fight your corner!! Don’t let them palm you off with excuses!

      • Paul

        Really? I cant get contribution based but they said it was highly unlikely i would get income based…………..even if i dont have any savings???

    • G. Wilderbeast

      Unfortunately most of the information on this web site is literally years out of date and the UK government has become more draconian in it’s treatment of citizens making claims since they feel welfare payments to the needy would be better going to their rich banker friends.. So maybe alot of the information on this site should be deleted or updated to make it more helpful to people who need to interact with the DWP otherwise now known as the The Nasty Department.

      • This is a blog I started when I was unemployed around 2009/2010 to share my personal experiences as jobseeker, but I no longer update it, as I am now in full-time employment again. It was never meant to be an official site to help guide the unemployed. Obviously, 4 or 5 years later, the info is outdated, and JobCentre rules have completely changed but I am afraid there isn’t much I can do about it. There are other posts in the blog, however, that cover more subjective topics (low self-esteem, etc), and the readers tend to find them helpful, so I hope it is still of some value.

  2. Refer to my other post for a full explanation of this. It should not be too hard to find it.

    One thing you seem to forget to state, is that there are 2 types of Jobseekers Allowance, they are:

    Contribution Based, this is elegible for those that have contributed enough N.I whilst employed, and comes from Government Funding.

    Income Based, this is elegible to be claimed by anyone who has no income whatsoever, and is made up of payments using money paid by the everyday working Tax Payer.

    So, yes you do not qualify for “Contribution Based Jobseekers Allowance” but you do however qualify for “Income Based Jobseekers Allowance”
    This is coming from someone who has been unemployed for 5 years after being constructively dismmised from my last place of employment.

    • Sorry did not see anyway to edit the comment i made above, so I have additionally added to what was stated as a reply.

      After seeing in full what you wrote on this subject, you will see that ironically you have answered your own post.


      “b. Here’s a valuable tip your JobCentre may not have told you about. JobCentres nationwide have been affected by government cuts, and money is being trimmed wherever possible, so unless you ask about it, they may not offer it to you. DO ASK”

      Being that there are 2 tyoes if JSA, you were obviously given information on claiming Contribution Based JSA.
      Because, you do not state that you applied for Income Based JSA, then like you say, you will only get answers if you are more specific about the particular benefit you are wanting to claim.

      • Thanks for your comments. Your comment on my previous post is very useful. Even if not relevant to my case (I don’t fall into the category which can claim income-based JSA, as my partner has a job, I have some savings, etc) etc, lots of jobseekers seem to come to this blog for information, and it might help them.

        Great to be exchanging information with you.


      I have been trying for a couple of days now to get some information/advice and wondered if anyone can help me. I am v. concerned because of the statement about the difficulty of signing back on.
      Until the 31st May I was employed as a teacher when I was made redundant (it was that or get pushed) with the pay off this takes my savings over £16,000 so I have signed on for contribution only JSA
      I have also started to mark exam papers… I was told that as long as I worked less than 16 hrs a week this is fine. I have now been told something different. I will be getting a lump sum for about 3 to 4 weeks work (probably around £500) at the end of July.
      Question 1
      I was told that it wold be best to cancel my signing on until after I was paid as the money I made would be deducted from JSA …would that be just for the one week that i got the cheque or for the whole of the 3 or 4 weeks I was marking the papers?
      Secondly would that effect the benefit for the following weeks until my benefit had covered the £500 or so
      If I cancelled the signing on until after I got paid end of July (2 months no money) the six month period would be extended and presumably the £500 would not be taken into account? No-one at the benefit office seems to be able to confirm any of this
      Question 2
      I have a flat that I rent out … does the rent count as income? It was not mentioned on any of the forms I filled in
      Is JSA taxable?
      Question 4
      If I don’t sign on… how do I pay my NI contributions and is it true they will only be about £7 a month (advice from benefit office). Although I have always worked I have also always cashed in my pension when I have changed jobs so only have about 15 years and I don’t want to lose any more contribtuions.
      I know it might seem I am being v. greedy but I have a mortgage of over £1,000 a month and given my age I am unlikely to get another job easily so must maximum what I can… this is the first time I have ever been unemployed so would be really grateful if anyone can help
      Thanks JANE

      • jsascammer

        for question 1 its under 16 hours or under £95 a week and income off renting a flat if they dont ask dont tell, jsa counts as taxable income as you will see when you sign off and get a p45 but it never is unless you get a wellpaid job. bit of advice i did it i applied got offered £40 fornightly as i had just over had just over £16,000 move some money out of your name

  3. Pingback: Writing Prompt: Starved « bardicblogger

  4. david wilson

    is it a law that if a person has no fixed address that they “must” sign on daily to recieve jobseekers allowance,and allowance will be stopped if they fail to attend?

    • Hi David, I don’t think it is daily you need to “sign on” but fortnightly. You must attend those meetings unless you have a very good reason not to (eg a job interview, a medical emergency, etc), in which case you should call the JobCentre ahead of time to let them know why, and you may be asked to provide evidence. If you fail to attend the sign-on day they may stop your allowance for that period, so I wouldn’t risk it. I am not aware of the rules being different for someone with no fixed address. Have you tried asking your local JobCentre?

      • Gordon

        David is correct about this. I didn’t have a fixed address recently when signing on, and I had to sign daily.

      • paul

        I am of no fixed abode and I sign fortnightly. The daily signing you mention is from the 80s and early 90s and has been scrapped.

    • Tracey

      This has been brought back from the 80’s/90’s as a way of making sure you are not just living somewhere and not declaring it. You must now sign daily if you are no fixed abode

  5. Pingback: One too many interviews got me in trouble with the JobCentre | On the dole, on the ball

  6. Is it formally stated anywhere e.g. job seekers website etc that you can be registered as a job seeker without getting Job Seekers allowance? My job centre said I cant register with them unless I am receiving a jobseekers allowance.

    • It sounds like the JobCentre people have confused you. First of all, anyone looking for a job could be called a “jobseeker”, even if they’re not registered with the JobCentre. Unemployed people register with the JobCentre (people tend to call that “to sign on” with the JobCentre) so that they can claim jobseeker’s allowance (called ‘JSA’), which, at the moment, if you’re over 25 years old is £67.50 per week. It gets paid to you every two weeks, after your fortnightly meeting with your personal adviser. You need to be fully available for work and prove to that you have been actively looking for jobs. You can only receive JSA AFTER you register w/ the JobCentre.
      Read more in the DirectGov site.
      In order to be entitled to JSA, you need to have worked and been paying a certain amount of National Insurance contributions for the past two consecutive years prior to the tax year you are claiming in (for example if you claim now, you need to have worked and paid taxes in 2009 and 2010).
      If you’re not a British national or have been working but not in the UK, I would advise you find where your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau is and enquire there. I am sure they will be able to give you unbiased/clearer advice than the JobCentre. Good luck!

  7. tim

    if you where to recieve a tax rebate or some other form of unearned windfall cash, and it was well below the 16 k threshold i believe you are able to legitimally have while recieving jsa. do you need to declare it at all to the job centre?

    • Hello Tim, I am sorry for this very late reply. I don’t know that you need to declare anything like that to the JobCentre while claiming JSA, unless you’re on an income-based JSA. You only need to let them know if you have done any work paid or unpaid while receiving the allowance. However, I believe that type of windfall cash would count as part of your ‘savings’ if you were, on or applying for income-based JSA, so you’d have to ‘declare’ it then. Otherwise, I don’t think it matters.

  8. John

    The jobcentre staff are the most unhelpful sanctimonious reprobates that i have had the misfortune to meet.
    They cost me 3 jobs while living in England as i needed travel expenses to get to job interviews. They refused all of them even though i had the interviews in the afternoon 25 miles away and no transport except going by bus. No money couldn’t get to interview which meant no job. When it came to my signing on day they had the cheek to pull me up for not attending the interviews and when i mentioned the money they said i could have a crisis loan. I tried that and was told since it wasnt an emergency i couldnt get it. Shafted all ways.
    They did the same when i lived in scotland.

    • Oh dear. I am sorry to hear, John. I do believe the travel for interview scheme is essential in increasing a jobseeker’s chances of finding a job, especially as these days, for many jobs, you have to look well outside your own local area. With train fares being so high in this country, and no ‘concessionary fares’ being available, the cost can add up and make your financial situation even worse.

    • Jen

      Hi John.
      My boyfriend had the same problem.
      The money we get on a joint claim isn’t enough to live and he could not pay to get to an interview but the job centre said they could not help. Funny as I thought that was their job TO HELP US FIND A JOB!

      Does anyone know what happens if I was to claim sick benefits as we are on joint claim? Would he still be able to make a single claim for jsa while I was on Sick benefits?

  9. F.Giles

    Hi….i am on e.s.a and have had loans from friends / family put into my bank account on various occassions .I am well below any allowed / savings tresholds…however…if my bank account / statements are looked into…by e.s.a / dwp could these loans be classed as “unearned income ” ? Also…what about selling on ebay ? Would sales of items of mine i sold..also count as unearned income ? Regards Z

    • Tracey

      Hi F.Giles
      What the jobcentre fail to tell job seekers is that any income be it a loan from family or money owed to you from a previous time is classed as income and yes they do take it into account if declared, which technically it should be.
      Even if you have a change jar they class that as income and if you mention you can save change they say ” If you can save when your being given too much money’
      I know it’s a sad case of affairs when you get penalized for having a penny jar!!!!
      Hope this info is helpful

  10. ES40

    The travel to interview shceme is now closed, it is no longer automatic and is now subject to advisor discretion and the money comes from a limited fund now.

    • Juliet

      I attended an interview two weeks ago, which was my normal signing on day. I arranged to sign on the day before, taking written proof of the interview along with me. The advisor did not mention that I could claim help with travel costs, I have just been to sign on today and handed my return ticket to the advisor, requesting that I be reimbursed with the cost. I was informed that because my interview was within the required 90 minute travelling distance from my home, that I would not be able to claim. Fail to see what difference it makes! It is not the distance that matters to Jobseekers, but the cost. This is the second time I have been unemployed and both times I have found the experience totally frustrating. There is no support at all from Jobcentre staff. They are just there to get as many people off JSA as quickly as possible and if this means forcing you to take a low paid job, then so be it. I have been in full time work for over 37 years and am very alarmed to read that I can only claim JSA for 6 months and then have to be back in employment for 2 years before I can make another claim! Disgusting! Can someone please tell me how this can be, when we have so many people coming to the UK from other countries and they are able to claim benefits and housing without having paid a penny into the system. Wrong Wrong Wrong!

  11. mrs penny pateman

    i was on incapacity benefit which went to e.s.a was told by every doctor that i have seen that i am not fit for work but then went for medical for e.s.a and was turned down i appealed lost it was told that it was because i was not bed ridden have a terminal illness etc that i can not get it even my own doctor said what the hell are they expecting you to do but they ignored this i then went on to claim j.s.a and was turned down for that now i am not getting anything can’t go outside on my own for fear of collapsing in the street i was working right up until the point i injured my back at work and now am being treated like a criminal and yet immigrants can get benefits what’s wrong with this country i was told under the old guidelines i would have passed with fling colours but under the new guidelines i do not i just dont know what to do

    • I am so sorry to hear this, Penny. Could you maybe phone your local paper, who may want to publish your story as an example of unfair treatment on ESA screening? Sometimes public outrage can help turn decisions like that around… If I find out how else you can appeal, I will contact you and let you know.

    • Penny (sorry for late reply), I am so sorry to hear. I know ESA is not always fair to everyone. I am not an expert in it, having never claimed it, but I know other people who blog about it. I’m manically busy right now with my new job and an impending house move, but I’ll get back to you with some links you may be able to check out to get some support, okay? Please do take care!

  12. John

    Is it possible to claim dental and NHS costs back although I have not paid enough NI contributions for 2 years, my local Jobcentre don’t know ?

    • Your local JobCentre may not know, but the Income Revenue people have your records and they do know. I have no idea about help in paying for dental treatment on NHS while you’re on jobseeker’s allowance. You could ask the JobCentre if there is any financial assistance you can claim at all but I very much doubt it.

    • Hi John, sorry for late reply. NHS is free health care, so you should not have to pay anyway (you can even get your prescriptions for free if you’re on income-based allowance), but dental treatment costs, as far as I know, are not covered by JobCentres. If you have not paid enough NI contributions for two consecutive years prior to the tax year in which you applied for JSA, you won’t receive jobseeker’s allowance but you will still get NI credit.

      • paul

        If you are on jsa then dental treatment is free. You just have to find a dentist that accepts NHS patients. You will be required to pay for any extras like recommended toothpaste/brushes etc but the actual treatment is free to jsa claimers!

      • peter


  13. siobhan

    Hi Chie
    I have also been turned down for JSA contributions based and like yourself i am not entitled to income based as my husband works. I have been told that if I attend the JCP and sign on I may get my NI contributions paid. The reason i applied for JSA was because i wanted to study for a professional qualification to get me back into work and the training organisation advised me that I could get the costs covered if I was a jobseeker in receipt of JSA (costs 1,000). If you are signing on for NI payments do you think you still fall into the JSA category for funding purposes. JCP dont seem to know the answer to this one.

    • Hi Siobhan, sorry for this very belated reply. I have been manically busy! (I’ve been working again since late October 2011) Yes, you still get NI credit when you sign on as a jobseeker, even if you are not entitled to jobseeker’s allowance because you haven’t been paying NI for two continuous years, etc up to the tax year prior to the one in which you applied for JSA. If the organisation you talked to said you could get funding from the JobCentre if you were a jobseeker, then it is quite possible that IS the case. I didn’t get any jobseeker’s allowance from JCP but they still paid for my travels to interview when the interviews were outside my local area (well…until I’d reached about five interviews, then they said I couldn’t have any more).

      Do try and enquire at your local JobCentre (look for a ‘nice’ adviser!🙂. I wish you the best of luck!


    You can get jsa. It’s called income based jsa. Unless you have a partner who is employed.

    • Leeann

      hi, im having a problem where I have been turned down for job seekers allowance, I lived in UK for 39 years and then went abroad and worked for just over 2 years, I was then unemployed while abroad for another two years, I came to Scotland and they said Im not entitled to job seekers allowance, I have no income whatsover, can anyone advise me on what I should do next as noone seems interested

  15. Jack W

    Just a quick question, they convinced me to go to a maths/english course at my local college then do an apprenticeship but i genuinely cant turn up to it as i have problems at the mo that rose after they convinced me, what do i do?

    • Do you go to the JobCentre regularly to “sign on”? If so, tell your adviser you have issues (but they may ask you what they are) preventing you from doing the course, etc. and get their advice. But be ware that not taking the opportunity of the course offered, followed by an apprenticeship, might also count against you (you may be penalised in terms of benefits you are entitled to), so ask yourself if your “issues” are things you really can’t overcome.

      • Ash

        Just a quick question regarding this i am doing a english amd maths course referred by the jobcentre advisor at my interview. I wanted to know can i get travel expenses from them to attend these courses as it takes me at least a good 15-20 mins to get there and a day ticket for three days is costly!could you give me more insight into this please?

  16. I dont qualify as I have a tiny pension, but by being a jobseeker can i get some (2) free training courses from firms set up to help JS’s. A CSCS card would help me finding work but is very expensive.

    • Are you officially registered at the JobCentre as a jobseeker? If so, ask your adviser at the local JobCentre if you are entitled, as I am afraid I have no idea.

  17. Hugh

    Great Info🙂 However I would like to know if they can force me to have a Post Office card account or can I insist on a Giro ?

    • paul

      Eventually you will have no choice but to have an account for benefit payment as Giro’s are being phased out and soon will no longer exist!

  18. Paula

    I haven’t worked since giving up work to start a family. Now ready to find a job, am I not entitled to jsa??

    • As far as I know you are only entitled to JSA if you have been working/paying taxes for two consecutive years up to the tax year prior to the one in which you applied for JSA. So, for example, if you apply now, May 2012, you’d need to have worked and paid enough taxes in the tax years 2010-2011 and 2011-2012.

      • mlt30

        This information is not quite correct. A benefit year starts on the first Sunday in January each year – so this year that was 1st Jan 2012. The two complete tax years prior to the 2012 benefit year are 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 – payment of contributions in these years are used to assess entitlement to conrtibutions based JSA for 2012.

  19. Mac

    What you are referring to is ‘contribution based jsa’ there is another option which is income based. Although i am not sure whether this is UK wide but on this you dont have to have worked at all.

    • Yes, but if you have a partner and he/she has a job, OR if you have some savingss, then more often than not, you are not entitled to the income-based contributions.

  20. Sammmy corbett

    I was given a job to apply for at the local court. after reading the job description i did not apply for the job as i would not pass a CRB check. i told the JobCentre this on my next interview and stated i had applied for a dental job instead as no CRB check is needed. they have now said i have refused to apply for a job and broke my jsa agreement and are stopping my jsa. At the beginning of my claim I as told not to apply for jobs i clearly would not get or my jsa would we stopped. Please help i have no other income and no one else to help me . Thankyou.

    • Oh Sammy, I am sorry to hear that. I am assuming you were honest and did tell your JobCentre adviser about the reason you did not apply for a job at the local court? But if they cannot accept that, maybe you should just go through the motions and apply for it anyway (even knowing they’ll turn you down), just so that you can tell the JobCentre you you’ve done it. Much has been written in the media already about JobCentres using any excuses to stop jobseekers’ allowances due to their limited budget. Don’t let them make you the next victim… It’s sad and pathetic to have to do this, I know, but if you’re desperate for the income, play their game and at least get your cheque in so that you won’t starve. Thanks for sharing your story here. If anything more happens, do come back and tell us the rest. Good luck!

  21. kirsty

    Just been reading some of the comments,sammy u can appeal,they did the same thing to me,gave Me a job to apply for that asked for experience which I didn’t have,so I didn’t apply I got a sanction for 6 months. after been told I couldn’t do anything I went bk a couple of days later to try and get more advice and was then told I could appeal, a week or so later I won the appeal and got back dated the money they owed me,ask the job centre who u have to appeal 2, in my case I done mine in the job centre and it was faxed that day.write your appeal asap

  22. chris

    my daughters job seekers allowance has ended can she still get benefit ie dole. she said she cant but i thought if she wasnt working she would get dole. thank you

  23. Rachel

    I am hoping to be able to claim JSA but before I make the application I’ve been doing some research. I currently work part time but am having to leave work because of child care issues and care of my parents. ( the care is not sufficient to claime careers allowance )
    Is there a stiplication that I have to agree to search for full time work (40 hrs) while claiming JSA? I can’t work full time and would only want to be considered for part time work. Will they allow this?
    Any advice is much appreciated

  24. Rachel

    Hi Chie
    Thanks for your quick response.
    I am going to phone the CAB today, they are a nightmare to get hold of! Will let you know if I get any useful info.

  25. dan

    this woman is full of it!!!!! yes i mean Chie Elliott!!!
    no u cant get cont’ based jsa if u havnt payed enough NI,but u can get income based. as u well know because u have contradicted your self every other reply.
    Also if u are a couple u CAN NOT!!!! claim jsa if your partner is working !!! well u could but they would do u for benefit fraud!
    What makes u such an expert on this by the way??? a couple of trips to the dole office???

    • First of all, I am no expert in unemployment benefits and never claimed to be one. In this blog I share the experiences I had as an unemployed person on the dole to try and help other people in a similar situation. Whenever I am not sure of an answer, I never reply irresponsibly. I may give my opinion (which is different from facts) but I always refer people back to the JobCentre or a Citizens Advice Bureau, or a trustworthy website where they can read up the information themselves.

      And, yes, you CAN claim JSA even if your partner is working. Contribution-based allowances are paid out to anyone who has paid enough NI contributions before they became unemployed. It is unrelated to your partner’s income or employment situation. However, if you wanted to claim income-based allowance, then the fact that your partner is in work could affect your status. It is then more unlikely that you will be eligible to the allowance. I think you got the two type s of allowances mixed up.

  26. Katy

    Hello I have recently started a part time job that is under 16 hours a week. I heard that If you work under 16 hours a week you can still claim dole money? But when I asked in the job centre I was with they said no. But boyfriends job centre said yes! So I am a bit confused.
    Hope you can help

    • Hi Katy. From what I remember of when I was on the dole, you CAN work part-time while claiming JSA. However, if the hours are less than 16 hours per week, the contributions don’t stop but you would not be receiving the full amount because you would be earning your wages from that part-time job, so the contributions are adjusted accordingly. These rules are written in your jobseeker’s agreement, which is like a small leaflet the JobCentre gives you when you first sign on. Read on this link under Unemployed > part-time or casual work.

      • Jacquie

        Katy ~ you CANNOT claim JSA and work. I worked for 12 hours a week, every week for 12 years and could NOT claim JSA, but , could claim Housing Benefit/Council Tax.. If you earn more than £20 per week, then you cannot get JSA.

  27. Edward

    i was sentenced to 4 weeks in prison, oviousley resulting me loosing my job, while in prison i visited the job centre there and was offered a position with a company on my exit of a 6 week work experience with pretty much gurentted job at the end. i would do the 39 hours a week work experience and get paid my JSA and traveling expenses. 4 weeks later i dont now what is going on and neither do the job centre. i have had one ppayment go into my account and half the job centre say its JSA and the other haklfsay its travelling expenses but they both say its definately not the two combined. they have got me very confused and i dont know whats coming from where and when and i dont know what to do. i travel 60 miles a day 5 days a week doing 39 hours and so far i have had one measely payment. and the day i couldnt turn up at work because i could not afford fuel they just had a go at me and said i must attend, well unless im paid i cant put petrol in and get there.

  28. victoria

    Hi I just strted receiving job seekers and they put on my agreement tat I had to be registered with two agencies and keep in contact wit them but the one I applied for was in warrignton and I’m in congleton. The agency wanted me to go down there wich would cost £20 and pay £40 sttaigh off for a CRB as it was an agency for childcare. I told the agency I wouldn’t go that far to register with them and that I didn’t have the money to pay for a CRB check there and then. I told te job centre tis and they said if I don’t register and keep in contact with two agencies by the next time I sign on with them they’ll stop my benefit. Are they allowed to put that I will register with two agencies as something I will do when I didn’t say that. I got told agencies are classed as work and its a legal requirement to be registered with two so they put it on my agreement and now tey’re using the fact that I could get there and pay for a CRB as a reason stop paying me the JSA.
    Any ideas cos now I’m panicking cos if they take the jobseekers away ill lose my housing benefit and then my flat cos I live on my own and I’m only 20.

  29. wayne

    ive had my jsa stopped because i didnt attend an interview 25 miles away because i havent got the money for the busfare i told them that at the time they arranged the interview but they werent intersted and told me i had to attend even though i wouldnt be able to get to the job every day on time if i was accepted…they never even mentioned allowances for travel….can they lawfully stop my jsa as i now have no money at all,does anybody know the answer to this?

    • Tracey

      Hi Wayne. I presume your Jsa has not been fully stopped but sanctioned which means they should have written a letter explaining why the sanction is inforced and for how long. Once received their should also be information about appealing the decision. When you go back to the jobcentre you need to ask them about this and if the person you see is nice they should tell you. Hope this is helpful

  30. simon

    what is the max money jsa can stop out of my benefit ??

    • paul

      They can stop up to 40% but whatever they stop, if you disagree with the amount on the basis it will cause you hardship, then they will reduce the amount should they agree with your appeal!


  32. Mrs B

    do i need to tell income support if i go to an adult education course for two hours per week please as i just starting a new claim

  33. tony

    Could you please help me,
    I want to study a degree over four years with the open university, but
    I need to prove i am not working to get student loans, grants etc.
    I have not worked since November 2011, and have been living on the rental income that i have been getting from a house I am paying a mortgage for.
    I have just been told that i should have been claiming for my national insurance stamp, is this right.
    If I sign on, is this proof that i am not working, in order to get help to pay for the course.
    thank you

    • Sorry, I am afraid I have no idea, Tony, as I’ve never applied for a student loan in this country. Would there be anyone who reads this blog that would know the answer and can help Tony? Good luck though. Hope you find a way soon.

  34. C.murphy

    This country is heading for meltdown as I now pays more not to work all your days and just take drugs n get all the benifits

    • Keith

      Never a truer word said. It does seem that the ones that want to return to work don’t get the help required but the lazy ones and useless members of society get hand outs left right and center and none of the grief from the pen pushers at the dole office.

    • Tracey

      How true we could end up with nothing after fighting years of debt and no one will help helps my husband said wished he had never bothered to work i cannot claim jsa because not paying enough contributions but family members have never worked and get jsa tax credits housing benefits the lot really bias to working people who have paid in.

  35. Diana

    Hi I was just wondering why the jobcentre say all these 0800/0845 numbers are free but if your on a contract phone is doesn’t let you phone out at all, and it’s not right as I pay my monthly bill on time every month. Jobcentre don’t tell you this though and when you try and explain to them they really don’t care. But eh why should they they have a job and getting there WAGE so sod the rest of us!!!

  36. jodie

    my partner is dew to have a operation on her shoulder. and i work part time earnin 75 per week can she claim jsa.

    • In a word yes if that is your only joint income. They will take savings over 6,000 into account if you are under 60, and any properties etc. If she is unable to work she could try ESA.

  37. I have been jobless for well over three years now, I was sacked (due to unfair bullying via the manager) and by accident 9 months down the line I had my first child, after being a stay at home parent for a year we then decided on our second child and now I am making the choice to go back to job seeking, I have applied for jobs off my own back with no luck and thought about trying JSA again to both help with money and help look for a job, I applied and was turned down for both (you’d think they would help search!!) my partner works and gets between £14.000 and £15.000 a year and we struggle with rent and often food for our children (please don’t give me a lecture about ‘should’ve thought of that before you had children’ my first was an accident and my second was planned when we thought we could afford it) I get the child benefit and child tax credits and my partner gets a pointless £1.30 working tax credits.. Is there any kind of help we can apply for that obviously doesn’t mess up what we already get? And are there any other type of organisations that can help with job seeking.

    Before anyone judges me.. I am 26 and I desperately want to work to provide a better future for my babies😦

  38. Andrew Davis

    I have recently closed my claim as I have started work this was done last wednesday the advisor at jobcentre told me my personal issue giro would be avaliable on the friday so I could get a travel pass for work. I pick up a personal issue giro as I had no bank account and was briefly homeless. during this claim. This normally arrives 2 days after signing. On the friday I attended salford Jobcentre and was told it was not there so to call the benefit delivery service. I did this and they said it was posted on wednesday evening so should be there by saturday. Obviosuly the job centre wasnt open on a sat so I asked for a computer payment. This was refused after waiting 3 hours as it could not be cancelled as it was in the post. They advised me of the advisor discrentionary fund for travel so I asked the jobcentre about this and was advised that I wasnt eligable as my claim was closed and to call back the benefits centre. I then did this and got exactly the same result as before with them stating now the jobcentre were refusing to cancel this which they denied saying it wouldnt be possible for them to cancel this. Anyway I was advised it would definatley be there monday I have turned up today ( Tuesday as I went to my first day of work yesterday and had to borrow train and tram fare!) and it was apparently returned as the amount was wrong with knowone informing me of this and I am currently on the 3 hour waiting list for a phone call from the delivery office to see if they will send a payment over today for me to cash as if not I will have to not only take another day off to collect money I will also have to try and struggle to find the money to get to work so losing out either way. Unfortunatley this is not the only ” drama ” during my last 3 months of signing on that has been caused by different communication and information given by the benefit delivery centre staff and the job centre staff. I truely believe that the staff are not to blame individually there is just no organisation or communication between anyone and not enough information for the staff working at the job centres. I truely hope this issue gets sorted today not just for the sake of the money but so I can turn my back on the DWP and I feel sorry for anyone who has to still deal with this joke of a department anymore.

  39. Zsuzsanna Heffler

    The JobCentre just sent me a letter,telling me,that from the 20th of Aug I need to see them daily!Can they ask me to do that?Got a small child,I am not getting any money at allfrom them,they do not help with nothing.I am stressed!What am I supposed to do?I am seriously stressed,not willing to travel there daily,esp.with a small child.Did they lose their minds???

  40. James

    I was wondering if you could give me any advice? i am 19 and have been on job seekers for almost a year in June i was late for an A4E appointment and was therefore sanctioned until July where i was only paid £54 after that i had an accident and therefore was told to go on the sick after calling up and sending off the information provided i have been waiting for weeks. Altogether i have been 4 weeks without any money off the job center. Now they are telling me that i have to wait another 2 weeks until any money will be given to me. As i have been so long without money i have no food or essentials in which to live off and my top up on rent is due. I attempted to apply for a hardship payment 2 weeks ago but was declined. What should i do ? Can they go this long without paying me ?

  41. Mark Ghahramani

    Re £16k threshold – I had a flat & tried to liquidate/sell for a year with a sitting tenant in it – Council told me this would nullify any qualification for benefits, Citizens Advice Bureau have successfully challenged under CPAG – Disregarded Capital. The elegibility is very tight, so check with your CAB.

  42. Jazzy

    I don’t have a fixed address and I don’t have to sign on daily.

  43. Leo

    Does anyone know if you have to provide bank statements on your first interview when you apply for JSA?

  44. jobseeker1000

    dwp-all departments…..useless, unhelpful, lack of communication! even most of the jobcentre advisers couldnt giv a damn..sit behind there desks caked in makeup…pearl necklace sneering down at u!! asking to see your diary for the last fortnight, threatning to stop your benefits caus theres not enough detail listed!! aaaaaarrrrrgggghhhh!!! even thou i show evidence that im applying for atleast 3 jobs a week, they still dig out some pathetic issue to threaten u with!! cant be dealing with the extra stress they put on u while your genuinly lookin for work!!! aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. What about applying for a job at the job-centre? How much does an advisor get paid anyway?

  46. Ellie

    Hi, just wondered if you could help.
    I’ve been signing on for a few months now but I have recently found full time work starting in a month’s time. I am currently living at home with my mother and my plan was to get a flat with my boyfriend (who unfortunately is currently signing on also). By my calculations, we can afford to rent a studio flat with a joint income including his JSA (but not without his JSA contributions).
    So, my question is whether he will still be entitled to JSA if he is living with me in a flat? My earnings would be £16,000 before tax.


  47. robbie

    Please could some one advise me,
    I was dissmissed from my job 4 months ago because of miss conduct (Argument with work college) i then claimed jsa which has been paid to me ever since during this period i have become £6,000 in debt & have ended up homeless then 2 weeks ago i recived a letter stating my money will be stopped for 2 weeks & that i could apply for a hardship loan which was rejected then i applied for a crisis loan which was also rejected now im not sure what to do how can i survive for 2 weeks without any money in my suitation even though i am regersterd homeless,i have worked all my life & paid tax all my life this is the 1st job i have ever been sacked from which was a joke that i got sacked in the 1st place am i ment to turn to crime to eat ? Any advise would be helpfull

  48. Craig Horn

    Please can someone help us?
    My wife has quit her job due to having our second child and then her work giving her different work hour patterns when she was to return from maternity leave. We couldnt do this due to childcare, etc.
    Anyway she as been told she can’t claim JSA because I am working and in the last two tax working years she didn’t pay enough NI. THis was because she was made redundant at her last job and was then on maternity leave (with our first child). Following on from this we have had our child tax credit stopped because I work so she can look after the children at home!
    Is there anything we can do as it wasn’t her fault she was made redundant in her last job and we now dont have enough money to live even with my wage!

  49. Hello there, I found your blog by means of Google even as looking for a related topic, your website came up, it seems to be good. I have bookmarked to favourites|added to my bookmarks.

  50. mandy

    Hi, can anybody tell me if when applying for JSA that you must give your mortgage company name and reference fi you have a mortgage. I have my father paying it for me currently and so I wont be requesting the help with interest benefit, but they ask for the details and I dont want them to contact my mortgage company for them to find out im on benefits if my father is paying it. He is helping me temporarily so that my credit and mortgage history remain settled while I am out of work. So do JSA contact my mortgage company even if im not claiming for the interest? Do they ask them for info on equity etc? (I dont have any).
    many thanks


  51. laura

    I think this is unfair I have worked since I left school and had a few years of due to havin children not age 3now. They have both started nursery so Im ready to go into work but it’s hard to get something I went to job byte to see if I was entitled to anything n they sent me skater satin I had not contributed to tax I last 2yrs so not entitled to jsa errr helloooo did they expect me to take my two children to work with me?????

  52. george

    i am leaving the care system and i am entitled to jobseekers about 55 quid a week. a friend has offered for me to move in. her mum if on benifits. will my jobseekers effect her benifit at all?

    • Kevin

      I have recently left my job because I was offered another. The new job offer did not fall through! I have informed the jobcentre and they want proof of all this which I will send them tomorrow. I have been working since 2005 right up until 2010 I was always in fulltime paid work. Since 2010 til now I have been in temporary posts which are on and off. I have recently been in one temp job for 2yrs which ended 2.5months ago due to funding! What are my chances of getting jsa whilst I look for work? This recent job offer was from a self employed guy who runs his own business, but the job offer was given to me via email. Am really scared I won’t jsa on this one.

  53. roxanne daisy bowling

    you are actually wrong… you can claim jsa but another thing jobcentre wont tell you is that you are entitled to income based jsa… the one you had applied for was contribution based.

    • John

      Me and my partner have had our income based application recently turned down as, although she only works 20 contracted hours a week, my partner takes home roughly £500 a month. That is apparently enough for us to live on! I am shocked right now as a my two years of self employment meant that I did not qualify for contributions based JSA. What they don’t take into account was that I am owed £3500 from the company I worked for who will never pay me as the company liquidated. The owner sold off the assets to his brother for a pound and they are operating under a different company name. Their lack of payment over the last year I worked for them has had a domino effect (they owed me £11k at one point) I had to eat into my tax money I put aside to live on, so I now owe the tax man £5k and a debt collection company £8k. So the old company I worked for still exists in everything but it’s original name… I won’t get my money from them or any assistance from JSA. Deeply shocking that they screw good people, people who have contributed and will not lie to obtain money off the state. And no we don’t have £16k plus, we have minus figures in our bank accounts. The country screws good people only to bend over backwards for fraudsters and work-shy scum.

  54. andrew

    i wonder if anybody out there can help me with the following please i am of no fixed abode and sleeping wherever im able to no one i know will let me use there address as a mailing address so my question is will i still be able to claim jsa ???? im told i can use my local job centre as my mailing address but im not sure if this is allowed ?? please please can anybody help me with my question as im desperate ??


  55. booho

    Can I just confirm, if you have paid your full NI contributions then you can claim Contribution Based JSA, you will receive this benefit for a total of 6 months only. After this time you can apply for ‘income-based’ JSA, however, please understand if you have a partner who works ‘FULL TIME’, you will NOT be entitled to anything at all except for them to remain paying your NI contributions (however, please be aware they are not full NIC), and you must attend every fortnight to sign for this pleasure!

    If this happens to you, you must speak with ‘Working Family Tax Credits’, they will assess your partners income, along with everything else and if the family are deemed to be on low income you will be entitled to monies, especially if you have children (this usually works out more than what you got on JSA!) which is paid weekly, the family are also entitled to free prescriptions and dental treatment whilst receiving WFTC. It is very worth while speaking to them as the job centre are extremely good and telling you one thing and doing something completely different when you actually challenge them.

    I am currently only being paid NI contributions, but due to my hubby working full time and still on a rubbish income, we receive WFTC.

  56. andr,
    of course,you can find homless shelter in your town and they allow to use address for jsa claims and etc.

  57. Ryan

    We purchased a apartment abroad while we both were still working. This was almost a year ago. They still building the place, so no one can live there and money is tied up. Soon after we got this place, wife got pregnant and we looked forward to getting some extra income to support us. I then found my company had not paid my pension for 5 years. I demanded this be put right and was made redundant! My solicitor advised me not to take it to court, I later found out from another employee going to a tribunal from the same company that her solicitor thinks my solicitor was compromised and paid off. We now get about £600 a month with a little baby and use the last of our savings. The job center refuse to help use because the property we have is £20,000. When we run out of money, i will have no choice but to put the property on my name and sleep on the street so my wife and child can live! Lovely system.

  58. C Simpson

    This all seems so complicated. I am claiming JSA after working continuously for 15 years. I had to move out of my home because I could not keep up my mortgage payments and have moved in with family. In the mean time I have let my house out. I make about £107 ‘profit’ from letting the house out once all the costs have been paid. The job centre have never paid my mortgage. They helped with council tax when I lived there but now i only get basic JSA. Anyway since this I had dinner with a friend and they said I could be imprisoned for not declaring my rental income. Is this right? It happened during the claim and I just moved in with my brother sometime ago and as a result my council tax obviously stopped and it was a genuine oversight by me. I am worried sick and need some help. I do not want to go to prison. How do I tell them? Please help


  59. Cornishscot

    Following redundancy in Jan. 2012 after 12 years in that job & PAYE for 28 years continuously in total I took a short-term freelance job on a self-employed basis 8 weeks before the end of the last tax year. Now that the job has ended and I am therefore searching for PAYE/self-employed again I have tried to claim contribs. JSA but they don’t seem to want to pay me that even though, from doing my research online, it seems that 42/52 weeks of 2011/12 tax year and 52/52 every year prior to that as PAYE should be enough to qualify for this benefit – latest is that a letter is on its way asking me to provide “evidence of income and expenditure for past 12 months” (when what I’ve had in/out since 6th April 2012 is IMHO irrelevant surely if it’s previous 2 (0r 3?) tax years’ Class I contributions that is counted for contrib. JSA entitlement – is it just me that thinks they are screwing me over as a first time claimant (or at least trying to) in the hope that I’ll give up, sign off again and save them some money that I am currently entitled to? I am not eligible for income based JSA on a number of accounts, including working partner and savings over £??K etc. so why the hell do they want to “means test” me/both of us for that now? Surely that is something that should be looked at once 26 weeks’ contrib. claim used up if still “signing on”. Would appreciate any comments you have on any of this.

  60. wendy kelly

    people need to ask about a clothes voucher, that enables them to use to buy clothes with, to look at their smartest to attend an interview , it is discretionary, shouldnt be, i think if one job centre gives them they all should, ask though , I am taking this up with my m.p, benefits should not be post code based

  61. Saira

    I just wanted to ask how the jobseekers allowance staff check that you have been applying for jobs? I know they give you a log-book, but when you hand this in, do they check with employers that you applied to them? I just wanted to ask because I wasn’t sure if I needed to include the empolyers name in the log book.

    • JoeyEnglish

      No as of yet they do not check. I sense its only a matter of time as they are trying to stop most peoples’ benefits for various reasons. Miss one appointment, or put eight instead of twelve things on the list and your benefits will be sanctioned (i.e. stopped for a month). How they expect already desperately poor people to survive on nothing is beyond me. Maybe its because the vast majority of the people who make these decisions have trust funds!

    • MultiSkilledSingleDad

      To answer your question: Do the Jobcentre Staff check with employers that you applied to them? My opinion: I don’t think they have the time, which is probably why the new Universal Jobmatch system attempts to automate the process (although they may do spot-checks or focus closer on suspicious claimants).

      However, as you probably know, only around 20% of job vacancies are advertised at the Jobcentre -or so I’ve been told. So, logically, your online Activity History (or paper logbook) is a far more accurate record of your Jobseeking.

      Personally, I log EVERYTHING. Every CV drop, every job-search (on all other job sites), every job-related phone call, every application, every rejection, every request for further details, every email, every bit of feedback, every employer’s name & contact details, their job reference number, etc., etc. Too much information is better than too little.

  62. hi thanks for usefull info i got a question i claim jsa been on it for 6 months and work part time do 10 hrs a week at work im 25 years old my recent pay slip was £325 handed in 2 weeks ago when i signed on i signed on yesterday and my advisor said i wont be getting anything i spoke to the main people they gave me a pathectic reason now my housing benifit is stopped cus they dont know wats going on i didnt receieve no letters nothing until yesterday when i got a letter saying cus i got a hiher pay and i didnt tell them i got to pay £50 cival charge and any over payments this isnt my fault its the job centres i got to live on nothing for 2 weeks im a single person and got to pay rent what can i do! my next pay from work will be £220 how much jsa do u reakon i will get when i next sign on this is distgusing behavour the way job centre have treated me

  63. Rachel

    Hi, does anyone know if you’re claiming Income Based Job Seekers Allowance as a lone parent and have starting working 10hrs a week (instead of the required 16hrs which would enable you to be signed off) If there is any help with traveling costs? The position i am in should next yr increase to 16 hs or more enabling me to no longer claim JSA, however in the meantime £16.50 a week in travel costs is a lot to have to find each week. Thanks :o)

    • alicia

      at my interview today i asked about refunding my bus fare and they said they dont do it, hope this is of some help for you x

  64. alicia

    hi, im new here, i was kicked off incapacity benefit, im a type 1 insulin diabetic with RA and numerous other illnesses, i went to my 1st jsa interview today and have been placed on income based jsa, what i would like to know is once my dental treatment starts and i get a job half way through, will i still be able to getmy dental treatment course finished for free?

  65. lisa

    I am wondering if anybody can confirm this – I get different answers when i go to the jobcentre and I am so desperate to get out of their offices I dont follow through (and she speaks really low and i can hardly hear her)
    I have been working for 26 years. Got made redundant in July and am signing on contribution based JSA, which finishes after 6 months (January). I understand you can still sign on for your NI credits after this time, which I do need to do as I also have unemployment cover with an Insurance Company and it is 1 of their conditions to enable me to keep claiming my monthly benefit from them.
    If I just claim NI credits do i still have to sign on every 6 months, are you grilled each time (as i am being at the moment) – any advice would be appreciated – Also the NI credits they pay I understand are not the full quota – is this correct?

    • vivaxantu


      I am in a similar position like yourself. In my case my JSA contributions have run out and I still go in because of travel costs are paid. And, since I sign on my NI gets paid towards my state pension. But, they are forcing me to close my claim and harrass me by calling me in EVERY DAY. I am constructively seeking work but have not managed yet to find anything.

      I have been trying to find out what whether I can be harrassed in this way but have not been in a position to find out how I can do this or what the correct information is.

  66. Nigel Fitton

    DWP sanctions the ‘Black Market’! . Having been turned down for JSA which took a lot of courage to apply for, I received a letter from the DWP telling me that they would not pay JSA – effectively it stated – Ha Ha times two, was offensive, grammatically incorrect and appalling. So having paid into this system for more than 30 yrs, being British and having my rights refused, I feel no compunction in joining the ‘black market’ and refusing to pay tax and nic until I receive an apology .. which will never happen. If I wish to be insulted i can go else where. So good luck Mr UK GOV I for one, will not pay you a penny more as I have set up an account outside of the UK where my income is now paid to allows minimum tax and I can use my account as a draw down account for which the government can not touch me on. I’m a NON-ENTITY as per my DWP letter and JSA so Mr UK GOV good luck!

  67. Jamie Franklin

    There is a lot of information within this blog that is not correct.
    Anyone made redundant / leaving voluntarily will have their case referred for a sanction decision. The outcome of which is benefit lose of 13 -156 weeks dependant on how many times it has occurred over the past 12 months. These decisions are based on law and are case by case.
    Any financial support is provided using ‘flexible support fund’. Flexible being the word, it’s decrectionary.
    It is incorrect to state this is available money. The fund is for those who cannot afford to pay themselves, people claiming contributions based job seekers allowance may find they won’t get it. Because those people have either: another income, capital or any money that is more than the equivilant of the full income based job seekers allowance.

    • Jamie Franklin

      Flexible support fund relates to ‘travel expenses’.

      Job seekers allowance is paid to those who cannot support themselves.
      If this was not the case everyone would work, save up, buy a house – jack in their job when they felt like it and then expect the state to maintain their lifestyle.
      I cannot afford to buy my own house or save money dispiye working full time. Why should tax pay for someone to keep their savings and assets??

  68. If you were Self Employed, and your Partner has been made redundant..with your Business not making anywhere near enough to live on… you may have to wait at least ten weeks (or more, Like I have) before you even get a reply as to whether you’re entitled or not!…. I’ll check back on any replies..If I still have a house to live in!😦

  69. vivaxantu


    I have searched so much for the following information ….
    (1) I am still signing-on despite my JSA Contribution based period running out. The only thing I get by signing on – is my NI contribution ( < £1) towards my state pension and possible travel costs if I secure an interview.

    (2) The job centre people are calling me in EVERY SINGLE DAY

    (3) I want to start volunteering properly for the charity I am working i.e. Fixed periods only for 2 days of the week BUT the job centre are refusing to comply – they claim that they can call me in EVERY DAY and ANY TIME they want. So, that makes it difficult to volunteer for the charity I am working for.

    They are FORCING ME to sign off and close my claim. That is the first thing they ask me everytime I come in for my daily signing on.

    Please can you help me find out whether they can do this ?

  70. Amy

    Hello there, loving all this info,thanks so much🙂 I was wondering if you could help me. I’m currently claiming JSA and looking to start an Apprentiship, I have a work placement willing to take me on as an apprentice and was wondering if the JSA would help me by funding the course fee. It will be a part time course. Many Thanks x

  71. susan

    Hi can anyone tell me?? i have just had to sign on, today infact!!! when signing i was told that i must be prepared to travel 90 mins on public transport??? is this correct?? i have a bus route that stops at 7 pm help i dont know what to do … Thanks

  72. Bridget

    Being on JSA of any kind is pretty crap. It is demoralizing going into the centre to sign on every two weeks to be met by a rude, disinterested person who couldn’t give two hoots if you get a job or not. The centre where I have signed on and off for the past 3 years is shocking. No one introduces themselves to you, calls you by your first name without asking, doesn’t take you as an individual but treats you as ‘one of the masses’, paperwork goes missing all the time, advisors (if you can call them that!) often don’t have any clue as to what you’re entitled to and god forbid your situation is slightly different to the norm ie. your partner works completely random hours-that throws them into a complete tailspin! For one of my last claims they did the run-around on myself and my partner for 4 months before deciding that the claim had been made in the wrong name in the first place. I am signed on now but do not expect to get any money as have claimed contribution based all the times before. If I can get my NI credits then that’s fine. My partner makes about £180 odd a week after tax(so no income based for us!) and whilst that is b*gger all, we will survive on it until I find a job. I just concentrate on not crying or shouting whilst in the Job Centre. To all who are struggling with these horrible people I wish you the very best of luck and hope that you find work soon. x

    • fiona

      apply for working tax credit

    • me and my parner as worked for all our lifes and due to no jobs out there we have had to sign on my partner as disablitys ie asburgess and adhd and the job centre dont listen to him or my self we have to look for 42 jobs 7 days a week on 3 different websites which dont help my partner and we have waited 13 weeks for payment from jobcenter i am a type 1 diabetic who as to eat 4 times a day and now they stopped crisis loans and told us to go to a food bank for food which is nasty foods and out of date and then they tell me to look for 42 jobs 7 days a week and we dont even get time to sneeze and i got a letter friday saying the law says you can live on 112.90 a week i dont know what world they are living in richer are getting richer poorer are getting poorer is stupid and with energy prices going up how can we live on this money we cant makes me mad .

  73. rachel

    Hi I been told I cant claim for contribution JSA as I been on statutory Maternity leave which ended this Feb. Is this correct? I have worked full time for 6 years before this and always paid tax ans NI.

  74. Mike

    I dont know if the laws have changed but I though you just claim income based or contribution based depending on your situation… Ive never not received any money

  75. eshan

    How would a Jobcentre find out whether you’re a full-time student or not, if you don’t tell them when you claiming JSA??!?

  76. Jimmy

    Hey, my partner and I have recently been claiming whilst volunteering in Scotland. We have just moved, (3 days ago) and wondered if we went back to the old office to claim without telling them we have moved if we would be liable to fraud or if it would be no problem. I have also had a trial yesterday but it was unpaid so I don’t think that that is a concern. Any help would be appreciated.

  77. Michael

    If you are a couple, and your partner is working, when you’re contribution based JSA runs out, yes, you are entitled to ask for income based JSA, BUT
    your partner must not be working full time.
    I get full income based JSA, but it is because my partner only works 16 hours a week and receives less than £600 a month.
    so in a nutshell, if your partner works only a few hours, and your total household income is less than the governments recommended amount required to live on, then you will receive income based JSA. (in full or topped up to the government recommended amount)

    And of course, Working tax credits will also add a little to the pot.

    • Catherine

      Hi Michael, My partner recently received JSA and I am a full-time student, he was recently fired without warning as he was working without a contract on minimum wage, as is the case too often nowadays. He has been told that due to my ‘income’ (student loan of roughly 4.500 per year so £375 per month) he will only be entitled to roughly £25 p/w jobseekers allowance. This obviously shocked me and I have searched through the legislation regarding JSA and can find no reference to how partner’s income actually effects income-based JSA, let alone specific figures.

      Does anybody know where I can find the specific rules? If I can just see written somewhere how exactly the partner’s income effects the income-based JSA and by how much, I would be able to come to terms with the fact that apparently the government deems £375 per month a legitimate amount of money to allow two people to pay rent and eat. I was wondering if you know where I could find this information? Or if you can confirm that you definitely receive the full amount JSA even with a partner income (of less than £600 per month) ?

      They Jobseekers people really do seem to mess you about a lot, no matter how eager you are to find work and how desperate you are for some small income, it’s already taken my boyfriend 2 months to even get £25 p/w and I’m certain it must be a mistake, but it’s near impossible to get through to anyone who can advise you on these kind of things.

      Any advice would be appreciated.



  78. kazzz

    I can’t get any help with bus fares been on jsa a year, now being pushed onto work programme, im going get out of it I don’t need any help had 10 interviews this month..i need an office job or p/a job not poxy cleaning or carer job good to me..sorry off topic

  79. george

    the work programme will reimburse interview travel costs and to the regular visits to their offices for job search etc.

  80. Thank you so much for this article. Today I registered as unemployed after a two year full time sound engineering course, and was told at the end of the interview that I would of course not be getting any money (not enough NI contributions in the 2 previous tax years and my partner works more than 24 hours a week)… it felt like such a blow. I always thought there was nothing more sould destroying than signing on, but apparently signing on for no money is worse!! Anyway, reading about your experiences has been keeping me sane today and I imagine I will return. Thanks again x

    • Thanks for your comment, Casee. Yes, I know what you mean. When I became unemployed a second time in a row, I had to sign on just for the sake of tax credits (plus the hope of having financial support to travel to the interviews), and it was dreadful having to show up every two weeks, etc and still go through the whole humiliating process…

  81. Claudia

    I found out about this course, starting in September, that will be free if I’m receiving the Job Seeker’s Allowance. The problem is, my adviser doesn’t want me taking courses, even thought I found out about this course through the Job Center. My question is: Can I still apply for the course, or do I need her permission or my Job Center permission?

    • Sarah

      Better to have their ok or they may sanction you for not looking for work when on the course. Depends on how many hours you have to job search?

  82. Elizabeth

    I will change address since I will move in another area.I am on JSA for 5 months and up to now I live with relatives. Now, I have to live by myself. I do not have a housing benefit. Do you know what is the procedure that I should follow? I’ve been told that I should register to my closest job centre, but would I have to go through an interview (like the initial one when applied for JSA)? Or I just tell them my new address? Please let me know

  83. Josephine Thompson

    Hi can any one advise me? I have worked full time all my adult life, then stopped working after my maternity leave ended 4 years ago and my husband has supportd me. I recently signed up for a Teaching Assistant course which was free if you were on jsa, otherwise £690 As couldnt afford it, I contacted the jobcentre to try and make a claim (also look for work now my child is in school) The college accepted me on the course, as I had all the relevant claim paperwork, I have signed on twice while my claim was being processed but today a letter arrived saying I wasnt entilted to JSA due to not enough NAT INS contributions. Will I now have to leave the course because I cant pay for it, or will my initial ‘claiming’ status while I enrolled ok? I have been advised to still sign on to get Class 1 NAT INS contributions for the future. I am 2 weeks into the course and love it, which will also help me find a job in the future. Do I tell the college or ask the jobcentre if they’ll still pay for the course or just carry on doing both regardless??! Confused x

    • Sarah

      Education normally ask for letters updates on your claim from job centre so if your not now getting JSA you are Not now entitled to free education unless you qualify on other grounds. You need the college to confirm you can still attend the course without payment.

  84. Luke Perczyk

    Hi can someone help me I have recently finished some unpaid temporary work that was on my page with the job center, do I need to tell them Yes or No.

  85. realist

    signing on is not worth the hassle income based jsa is a joke if your partner works i am 50 have enough contributions for a twothirds pension at 66 if i live that long will do some cash in hand work if things get desperate i would rather live a more thrifty to quote r burns a glorious privalidge of being indepentant

    • Sarah

      We’ll said but nice to make DWP job hard for them. I claim credits only and they hate it taking up their time at the job centre. Make them feel the same make them work for you.

  86. Jacquie

    Not sure if this site still exists ~ but to those on JSA, you can ask for an Oyster Travel Discount Card, ( which lasts for 6 months) where you pay half price on all fares. You do however have to be 13 weeks unemployed. If you find paid employment, you are still entitled to use to the expiry date. All you need are 2 passport photos.

  87. Martin

    Hi can some one help me with regarding taking a temp employment position for 3 months at present on the Work Program having being unemployed for a few years .At present on income based jobseekers allowance with wife and family would I still be able to make a rapid reclaim after the 3 month period and get my existing benefits as I have heard that taking temp work for 3 months that you cannot claim income based jobseekers again.
    Many Thanks

    • Sarah

      Yes you claim again for income based not contribution based as you not working enough. They may make it difficult but rapid reclaim within 6 months and must show them it is temp work which is the reason for leaving that employment after 3 months.

  88. Gurpreet

    1. If I sign on to claim NI credits ONLY are there still 2 types of JSA?
    2. Would I receive free NHS prescriptions if I sign on ONLY for NI credits?

    • Sarah

      In credits only is not JSA just class as that regulations to make sure you look for work still.

      You need to contact nhs claim for help with health costs form.

  89. clare

    I need to apply for job seekers allowance, I am separated, haven’t seen him in years, have no idea where he is or no way of contacting him but don’t have his national insurance number; how and can I apply without it as you have to apply on line. Also, I have no fixed address as moved to new town but staying between friends until I can geta place using a fixed address as postal for job search; is this allowed?

  90. what if you were on sick on esa and handing in notes from your dr , you lost ur appeal cause you failed to attend cause the paperwork didnt arrive till after the date of the appeal , you had noone to help you deal ith it as cab dropped you and didnt want to help represent you , your drs letters regarding you not bein fit to work as you were under care of mental health team awaiting more appointmnet , then they stop your money but cofuse you by sendn you a letter after they say ur moneys stopped to say i you dont remember hand your next sik note in on time theyll stop ur money so you hand in sick note then wk later they still stop ur money , your dr cant understand how youv been left with no income at all and why there ignoring ur health problems and her letters then tells you unfortunatley the mental health treatment and counselling you need to help you get over what atos has just put you through lyn and losing you a job of 19yr by inventing a medical conditn the nhs said you didnt have and causing you muscle spasms which they classed lumbar spondylosis and brought on the spasms anxiety and panic attackis in first place putin you under so much pressure whilst you were tryn to recover from 3 accidents you had whilst at work , and the dr tells you because your dole money has been stopped there is no fundng for your mental health care now till you get your money started again , bangn my head off a wall here goin round and round they cut me off in august and iv been sellin my belongings tryn to survive which is getn harder cause noone wants pay for stuff these days , im not eligible for jsa cause i aint mentally fit to work which also causes physical conditions , yet according to dole i cant get esa now either left to in a total mess , iv been told this is it now live on nothing i cant sign decleration im fit to work when imnot thats telling lies and im not having them doin me with fraud thanks

  91. Lyn Thompson

    I am having an interview Friday coming. Been advised too take advantage of clothing allowance for interview. Went to Matalan. Picked the clothes. For women shoes, trousers/skirt, jacket and a blouse. Sensible interview clothes. A colleague went to the jobcentre for an interview along with letter and evidence of job interview and was refused the jacket. At the cost of £25 ended up paying out of her own pocket. Why?

  92. Amy

    If I’m working 12 hours a week am I entitled to free dental care?

  93. Paul

    Hi could use some advice, i have just recently had my hours cut at work from 16 to 6 hour per week, so I signed back onto JSA, I have just received there reply I am not entitled to JSA as my previous wage slips show that I earn too much, I can’t claim any job seekers until I have a wage slip which shows my drop in wages which I will not recieve for another 3 weeks having already been working for 6 hours per week for around 5 weeks already. When I have the wage slip I can claim from the date of me showing them the wage slip and it cannot be backdated, is this right?

    • Juliet

      If your employer has cut your working hours, you should be given a new written term of contract which you can then take to the Jobcentre to prove your income is being reduced.

  94. sam

    Hello im seaking some advice, my situation is this, i am single jobless homeless have no children have zero income dont drive dont use public transport, i have signed on for about 4 years on and off doing short periods of agency work and anything else to make money, the job center have stopped my payments for the last 5 months, since that time ive been on hardship payments of £38 every fortnight(you cannot survive on this measly amount) recently i was at the job center where my advisor tells me i can expect full payments from now on but instead have had my money stopped completley with no explaination even after signing on again since this happened, when i try to contact someone to find out the issue i am palmed off with “ring this number, ring that number” etc, i dont know how to deal with this but i feel they have stripped my dignity away and have never helped me get a job but helped me stay in poverty for an extended time, i feel like printing my own money and telling the government to f*ck off.

    Any thoughts or help would be great, thanks for your time and apologies for my terrible English.


  95. Sara

    I have now got to attend the jobs centre weekly and I cannot go on public transport due to being on crutches and confidence issues, can I claim money back for my taxi fare to and from the job centre even if it is just for the extra weeks that I am attending?

  96. Roerta

    Vouchers for suits two days notice!
    50 per cent bus pass from day 1not after six months mike they told me.

  97. If ur on esa can u get refund back on train fare

  98. Brian

    Hi my jobseekers allowance was payed into a closed bank account i have been told i have to wait till bank sends my money back even tho i have proof my account is closed is this true

  99. June

    Hi I am going to do some unpaid training at my new job for a week and then start and it will be five weeks till I get paid and I am not sure if JSA will paid for a monthly bus pass so I could do the training and it will cover me to use for the job plz can anyone help by telling me what to do

  100. Andrew Percival

    Hi, just wondering if you had any advice on this.. my client had his JSA stopped because the jobcentre said his college course was full time he went without benefits for three weeks until I had it over turned via the mandatory reconsideration after the decision makers seen the paperwork he had handed in in the first place was correct and it was indeed part time.. He has had his money back dated now but, because they told him he had to quite his course to make a new claim he has missed his the chance to gain the qualification.. this coupled with the stress of nearly losing his tenancy and going without money for the duration of his sanction. what can I do to take this further and what if anything may he be entitled to for his troubles..
    Thanks.. Andy p..

  101. hippywotmarketingmogul

    Just thought I’d drop a comment that may help your readers…Your post above applies to “contribution based job seekers allowance,” So in this circumstance you are still able to claim job seekers allowance. The benefits advisor gave false information, you do not have to sign for N.I credits only and then receive no payment.

    Instead you need to re-apply but this time apply for “Income based Job seekers allowance.” In some areas this is now being replaced by universal credit.

    Best of luck to everyone – Sean🙂

  102. My husband claims JSA for both of us and he signs on fortnightly. We have two daughters 16 and 19 years old and both will be at college until they are about 23 years old as intend to do degrees. My question is, after 26 weeks of my husband signing on, if he has not found work, I think I will be asked to go to the job centre to see someone. What can the job centre make me do and what are my rights ? I did a couple of years ago, when my husband was in work, attend the Learn Direct Centre, hoping to learn the ways of the computer. I found the free courses offered to people on low money absolute rubbish and learnt nothing, so left after 3 months. I am wondering if I am entitled to stay at home as my husband signs on what the job centre can force me to do ? I am 60 years old this June and not worked for 30 years now. My husband is 60 years old in September and is not skilled either.Yet he has been in work until 3 years ago and never wanted me to work and remain at home to look after them all.

    • hgigi

      you should have no kids if you can’t afford to feed them. I can’t afford and don’t have them simple!

  103. Are JSA staff able to force you to visit every day and look for 40 jobs every day, after 4 months of searching for 30 jobs per week. Also are they legally allowed to threaten to strip you of your JSA benefitif you do not comply.
    Is there any legal protection from this tyranny. I have level 3 in Graphic design and level 2 media.
    Thanks for any enlightenment.

  104. Cecilia

    Thanks for this information, I have to go for training fair from where I live. The training is from 5 day to two weeks, they haven’t told me exactly how long is going to take as we are still waiting for my references.
    Thanks again

  105. Phil

    Reading the story as above it fails to mention that if you cant get contributions base jobseekers allowance you can then get income base jobseekers allowance there is infact 2 kinds of jobseekers allowance. I only found this out because of the same situation that I never had enough contributions base jobseekers allowance. I was never told about this before. Its something I found out online.

  106. Plum

    SOOOOO HELPFUL… thanks

  107. Alyce


    I received a letter telling me that they can’t pay me the JSA. First, they don’t give me any reason why… then they say that they may still credit me with class 1 national insurance contributions if I continue to attend the jobcentre. What is the station pension entitlement? and actually my main question is this one : what happen if I stop going to the job centre? Does it affect my future claim for benefits? (as I am pregnant and intend to claim for maternity allowance and others in the future…)
    Thank you for your answer. I have been looking for this for weeks and can’t find answer. I’ve even been to a CAB to ask for advice but nothing …

  108. We just returned from working over in Cyprus, I got a job before arriving but now my misses is in a position to work, she can’t claim JSA while she looks for work because she doesn’t have 2 years contributions, regardless that she paid into the coffers for years before we moved abroad. My question is how do people that come straight out of school and sign on manage it, let’s be honest some people have never paid any contributions whatsoever…how does that work?

  109. Catrina Bobby Ellis

    I am working less than 16 hours, in fact I’m working 4 hours a week, but every now and then there’s overtime but I only get an extra £70 as my usual wage a month is £125.67 so overtime is £195.97. Y is my JSA being affected as I’m worse off by £40 a fortnight, surely as I’m doing paid work less than 16/hours my JSA shouldn’t be affected in any way!? And I’m a middle age single woman living alone!?

    • Catrina Bobby Ellis

      Y am I losing £40 a fortnight from my JSA when I’m working less than 16 hours, I only earn £125-67 usual monthly wage, but my overtime is an extra £70 making a total of £195-97 a that month, so I’m not better off, the jobcentre lied to me when I got try old I can work less than 16 hours and my JSA would NOT be affected and it is being affected!? I am a 52 year old single woman.

  110. paul slattery

    I signed on for jsa, after a month they paid me one week then sent me on a two week course, i borrowed my mothers car to attend daily as i coudnt get my children to school and use public transport and get there on time. The job centre tell me “they dont know” if i can claim the cost of petrol, 10 days at 14 miles per day = 140 miles. the Email address and name is my father.

  111. Becky

    This is baffling my head, I have recently started part time work and i’m also claiming JSA and at college 3 days a week. I only work 10 hours over 2 days and my advisor has told me to bring in my wage slip so they can check what I get paid and apparently they have to take money out of my wage, SERIOUSLY?! Does anyone know how much they’ll be taking off of me? Thanks everyone

  112. Sarah Wyatt

    Need some advice
    My other half is applying for JSA but we don’t know if we need to check yes for living with partner because we do live together but I am in full time education and not working; not available for and not looking for work.

  113. Hi if I have just lost my job and i move to another town to find a new job and my wife gives her job up to move with me can i claim benefits for both of us thanks

  114. Susan quinn

    Am I entitled to free dentistry and prescriptions if my husband work and I don’t

  115. Katie

    My boyfriend was in prison couple weeks ago and got out and started his claim back up then now he’s ended up back in prison yesterday and he was supposed to get paid today he’s wondering will he get any money owed to him will he was out and before he got sent to prison?

  116. Deb

    My sister is claiming Jsa. She was supposed to attend a job interview but was in a bit of a state from attending seeing her GP early that morning.
    She cancelled the interview.
    Will this affect her losing money on Jsa.

    Thanx Deb

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  119. dorothy

    Me and my partner get jobseekers and we get £180 a fortnight is it right

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  121. James Hardwick

    I havent worked in 3 weeks and before that only got 2 or 3 days work.
    Can i claim jobseekers for the days or weeks i dont work.
    I am totally skint.

  122. Peter Hook

    I have just recently found the need to claim job seekers allowance. I work as a supply teacher, during term holidays I live off my savings. Work was limited before summer holidays. I have gone six weeks with no money, two weeks with no food. I have interviews this week with supply agencies, I have had to council them as job centre refuse to help with travel cost. This week I will get £40 from the government, which my bank will take in charged. All I wanted was support to get to work. Next week the new term starts, I would be in work if the Government would help. But alas, unless I can tell my landlord that I have work and rent will be paid, but because I can’t, I will be given notice to vacate present accommodation. I find the response I’m getting from the government is unbelievable.
    A job centre should help get people to work, not stop them from working. I have emailed my local MP, contacted news papers and other media.

  123. kerrie edge

    I have been on a. Course for the LST 8 weeks x I drive there everyday 15 miles a day . I have been sending my petrol recpits in at the end of each week . but I’m not sure when they pay this back as I don’t think its been going back in to my benefits

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