The main form of unemployment benefit in the UK, Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is a vital cog in making sure that some of the most vulnerable people in the country can afford to make ends meet.
Administered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), most claimants are dealt with through the Jobcentre Plus brand – in branches of which those making a claim must attended regular meetings regarding their search for employment.
Broadly, those making a JSA claim must be fit and searching for employment, must not have savings of over £16,000 and must not have left their last job of their own free will. Payments mainly range from £56.80 per week for those under 25 year of age to £71.70 for those 25 and older.
There are currently two forms of claim – contribution-based JSA (where benefits are paid from National Insurance contributions made by the claimant) and income-based JSA (where payments are made from the public purse). The differences between the two are largely administrative and do not affect the day to day lives of claimants – though for general purposes, income-based JSA is generally for those who have been claiming in the longer term.
Eventually, it is planned that JSA (as well as other means-tested benefits) will be replaced by Universal Credit as a means of cutting DWP costs and more accurately monitoring benefit fraud. This move was originally supposed to be implemented by October 2013, though this date was missed and further plans are yet to be announced.