Can you get Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance?

universal credit and jobseeker's allowance

Written by Pareeshti Rao

It all started with an impulsive urge to befriend Enid Blyton and be a part of the famous five! Writing since then has been my magic wand and I've used it to sprinkle words like fairy dust and express myself thereat.

April 26, 2021

Yes! You could be eligible to receive Universal credit and Jobseeker’s allowance provided you meet all of the standard criteria that are involved. You may be going through a phase where the struggles of repaying your maintenance loans are not your only major concern. As a student pursuing graduate studies, you’re also concerned about finding a job so that you can start paying off your loans. There’s good news for you! You do have the chance to pay off a part of the huge costs if not all, by applying for Jobseeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit. Afterall, something is better than nothing! Here’s everything you need to know regarding the eligibility, application process and the amount you could receive.

universal credit and jobseeker's allowance

What Is Universal Credit And Jobseeker’s Allowance?

Universal Credit: As stated in, Universal Credit is a payment to help with your living costs. It is usually paid in monthly installments (and even twice in a month for certain exceptions). You can get it only if you’re on a low income, out of work, or you cannot work. UC is replacing the following benefits:

  • Child Tax Credit
  • Housing Benefit
  • Income Support
  • income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
  • income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
  • Working Tax Credit

Jobseeker’s Allowance: As per the new UK Government rules, in order to help you looking for work in the UK, you can apply for the ‘new style’ Jobseeker’s allowance. It is a contribution based benefit which means that you may be able to get if:

  • you’ve paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in, and/or
  • been credited with enough National Insurance (NI) contributions in the 2 full tax years before the year you’re claiming in

Are you having difficulty in looking for graduate training programmes? You should check out the best alternatives to graduate training schemes

Who Is Eligible For Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance?

The eligibility for getting a jobseeker’s allowance or universal credit is based on several stipulations and expectations on who claims what, and what their current situation is. Talking about Universal Credit, you’re eligible for it only if:

  • you’re on a low income or out of work
  • you’re 18 or over (there are some exceptions if you’re 16 to 17)
  • you’re under State Pension age (or your partner is)
  • you and your partner have £16,000 or less in savings between you
  • you live in the UK

Check the chart to see whether you’re eligible for receiving a full payment or a reduced payment.

universal credit and jobseeker's allowance

Source: CashFloat

Whether you’re looking at the eligibility for universal credit or jobseeker’s allowance, you will have to meet certain criteria. In order to receive jobseeker’s allowance, you need to have

  • worked as an employee
  • paid Class 1 National Insurance contributions, usually in the last 2 to 3 years (National Insurance credits can also count)

While checking your eligibility for receiving universal credit and jobseeker’s allowance, your work timings, work experience, income received, and payment of national insurance comes into account. But, how would you know if you’ve paid Class 1 National Insurance or not?

It’s simple! Any employee earning more than £183 a week will automatically pay Class 1 National Insurance. However, this amount changes every new tax year so it’s better to always verify and check the figures you were earning at that point.

Apart from the above mentioned mandatory points, you can get the new JSA only if you meet the below criteria. For that, you should: 

  • Be 18 or over but under the State Pensions age (there are exceptions, however)
  • Not be in full-time education
  • Live in England, Scotland, or Wales and have the rights to work in the UK
  • Not be working at the moment, or be working less than 16 hours per week
  • Not have all illness/disability due to which you cannot work
  • Be available for work while looking for a job

Also read: Average Graduate Salaries In The UK 2021 – A Complete Guide

What Is The Amount You Will Receive From Universal Credit And Jobseeker’s Allowance?

Universal Credit: How much Universal credit you receive, will depend on your earnings. However, the standard allowances you will receive varies on your age and marital status:

  • If you’re single and under 25, you receive £344
  • If you’re single and above 25, you will receive £411.51
  • If you’re a couple and you both are under 25, you will £490.60 together
  • If you’re a couple and either one of you or both are above 25, you will receive £596.58 together.

Moreover, this standard amount can be topped up if you have children, have a disability, or are having problems paying rent.

Jobseeker’s Allowance: If you’re eligible to receive the new style JSA, you can get a ‘personal allowance’ each week of up to: £59.20 if you’re 18 to 24; £74.70 if you’re 25 or over. The exact amount you get will depend on your circumstances – for example, your payment might be less if you work part-time or get a pension.

Where To Apply For Universal Credit And Jobseeker’s Allowance?

For now, JSA and Universal Credit interviews have all been cancelled due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. So, while you may still be able to apply for UC and the new style JSA, it would be pointless without the interview round.

I hope this blog on ‘Can You Get Universal Credit And Jobseeker’s Allowance’ was useful to you. If you wish to read similar such guides, these blogs might be of use to you:

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