Jobseeker's Allowance (MT/NC or NMT/C)
If you’re unemployed and able to work, Jobseeker’s Allowance can give you a weekly income while you look for work.
There are two types of Jobseeker’s Allowance – contribution-based and income-based.
In England, Scotland and Wales, between October 2013 and 2017, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is gradually being replaced by Universal Credit. Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is staying the same. In Northern Ireland, similar changes are expected but the Welfare Reform Bill is still under consideration. Check nidirect.gov.uk for the latest news on expected changes to the benefits system in Northern Ireland.
Contact a welfare rights adviser to find out how this change may affect you.
You may be entitled to contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance if you’ve paid enough national insurance contributions in the last two complete tax years. Generally, if you’ve paid national insurance contributions while being self-employed, these won’t help you qualify for contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is based on your income and savings, although some of your earnings from employment won’t be counted. Depending on your circumstances, the amount of earnings not counted could be £5, £10 or £20 a week.
Advisers at your local Jobcentre Plus (Jobs and Benefits Office in Northern Ireland) will help you with your job search. If you need specialist advice because of an illness or disability, ask to see a disability employment adviser.
How to claim
Call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688 or visit gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance. You’ll need to attend an interview with an adviser at your local Jobcentre.
In Northern Ireland, contact your local Jobs and Benefits or Social Security Office or visit nidirect.gov.uk