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.
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. 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.
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance is based on your income and savings. Generally, self-employed contributions will not help you qualify for contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Advisers at your local Jobcentre will help with your job search.
If you need specialist advice because of an illness or disability, ask to see a disability employment adviser.
How can I claim?
Apply online or call Jobcentre Plus on 0800 055 6688, textphone 0800 023 4888. You will need to attend an interview with an adviser at your local Jobcentre.
In Northern Ireland
Contact your local Social Security or Jobs and Benefits office to arrange an appointment for an interview with an adviser.
Access to Work
The Access to Work programme can help if you have a long-term health condition that affects the way you do your job. It gives employees and employers advice and support to meet the additional costs that may arise because of the employee’s health condition.
The scheme may pay for:
special aids and equipment needed in the workplace as a direct result of your condition
travel to and from work if you can’t use public transport
a support worker.
Check Gov.uk for contact details of your local centre, or ask to speak to a disability employment adviser at your local Jobcentre.
In Northern Ireland
The Access to Work (NI) programme provides support to disabled people and their employers to help overcome work-related obstacles resulting from a disability. Speak to a disability employment adviser for more information. You can also find out more about the scheme at nidirect.gov.uk.
Are you insured?
Look through your insurance policies and you may find that you're covered for loss of income, medical treatment, credit cards, mortgage payments and other expenses. It's certainly worth checking.
Welfare reform in Northern Ireland - Autumn 2013 update
The Northern Ireland Welfare Reform Bill is still under consideration. While it was originally expected that reforms to the benefits system in Northern Ireland would start to be introduced in summer 2013, these changes are now not expected to occur until at least spring 2014. The latest news on the reforms can be found on our welfare reform page and also at nidirect.gov.uk
Macmillan Cancer Support, in partnership with Citizens Advice, provides a dedicated Welfare Rights Service to cancer people affected by cancer in Northern Ireland. For information and support, or to arrange an appointment, please call 0300 1 233 233. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am-12.30pm and 1pm-4pm.
You can also call the Macmillan Support Line on 0808 808 00 00.
For benefits information and support in Northern Ireland please visit nidirect.gov.uk or call 0800 232 1271.
You can also contact the Northern Ireland Benefit Enquiry Line on 0800 220 674, or textphone 0800 243 787 if you are deaf or hard of hearing.