If you’ve just lost your job, you might be wondering what out of work benefits you’ll be able to claim. The benefits available depends on how long you were working for, your National Insurance Contributions (NICs), how you left your job and household circumstances. What you’ll be able to claim also depends on how long you were working for.
What benefits can you claim if you’ve lost your job?
If you’ve lost your job, the main benefit you can claim is new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
On top of new-style JSA, you might be able to get help with costs like housing and childcare through Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is replacing a number of benefits you would have normally claimed, including Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.
New-style Jobseeker’s Allowance
If you’ve made enough Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) in the last two full tax years, you might be able to get new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
You can get this for up to six months and it will be paid into your bank, building society, or credit union account every two weeks. Your partner’s or spouse’s income will not affect your claim for new-style JSA.
If you need help with things, such as housing costs or bringing up children, you will have to make a separate application for Universal Credit.
Universal Credit is based on household income, so your partner’s or spouse’s income will affect how much you will get.
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is one of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit and most people will have to make a claim for Universal Credit instead.
You might still be able to claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if you:
- get the Severe Disability Premium, or are entitled to it
- got, or were entitled to, the Severe Disability Premium in the last month and are still eligible.
If you meet these conditions, you will not yet be asked to make a new claim for Universal Credit. This means you will still be able to make a new claim or continue to claim other benefits like Tax Credits.
Savings above £6,000 and your partner’s income will affect the amount of Universal Credit you could get.
Most people will not be able to make a new claim for Working Tax Credits (WTC) or Child Tax Credits (CTC) and will be asked to apply for Universal Credit.
If you’re already getting tax credits and lose your job, this is a change of circumstances and might mean you will have to make a new claim for Universal Credit.
You must tell the Tax Credit Office within 30 days. You can call the Tax Credits Helpline on 0345 300 3900.
You might still be able to claim Tax Credits if either you or your partner is of Pension Credit age.
Benefits to help with housing costs
Help with your rent
Depending on your income and savings, you could get some help with your rent from Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit.
Help with Council Tax
You might also be able to get help with Council Tax.
Help with mortgage interest payments
If you’re a homeowner, you might qualify for help with your mortgage interest payments.
Benefits to help with other costs
Welfare and educational grants
If you’re on a low income, there might be some support available through welfare and educational grants from charities.
You can search for grants on Turn2us
Statutory redundancy pay
If you’ve been made redundant, you’ll normally be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you’re an employee, have made enough National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and you’ve been working for your current employer for at least 2 years.
You should also check your employment contract to see if you’re entitled to contractual redundancy pay as well.
Are you entitled to benefits if you’ve been sacked?
If you’ve been dismissed from your job because of misconduct, or you left it without a good reason, there might be a delay before you can start getting Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit.
This is because your Jobcentre Plus work coach is allowed to apply a sanction to your benefit – in other words, stop it being paid for a certain number of weeks. It’s up to your work coach how long the sanction lasts.
If your circumstances change
Remember to tell Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office if you go back to work or if your circumstances change.
The same goes for HM Revenue & Customs – you could be fined £300 if you don’t tell the Tax Credits Office your circumstances have changed.
You might still be entitled to some help when you go back to work and your income is low.
For example, if you were getting Jobseeker’s Allowance you might carry on getting Housing Benefit or Working Tax Credit.
If you are getting Universal Credit, your payments might gradually reduce until your income rises to the point where you’re no longer eligible to get it.
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