Jobseekers' and part time or low paid workers' benefits

You can get support if you’re currently looking for a job or on low pay

Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

JSA is for people of working age who are out of work or work fewer than 16 hours a week on average.

If you qualify, it’s paid while you're looking for work. One type of JSA is paid if you have paid enough National Insurance (NI) contributions.

This is limited to 26 weeks.

When this runs out, or if you haven’t paid enough NI contributions, you may be eligible to claim income based JSA. This depends on your income and savings and (for couples) your partner’s income and savings.

Find out more about JSA on GOV.UK.

Universal Credit for jobseekers

Means tested Jobseekers Allowance will gradually be replaced by Universal Credit for claimants.

You may already be in this benefit if you were already in receipt of it and moved to Bristol or were one of the few who could claim up until December 2017

Find out more on our Universal Credit page.


If Jobcentre Plus decide you haven't met the conditions of your jobseeker’s agreement (claimant commitment) you may be sanctioned.

This means your Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit won't be paid for a specified length of time. It's important to carry on meeting the jobseeking conditions while you're sanctioned, otherwise your claim will be closed.

If you had a good reason for what you did, you should tell Jobcentre Plus what this was. If your benefit is sanctioned, you may be eligible for a hardship payment.

For more information about what you can do to avoid a sanction, or ask for the decision to be looked at again, see our factsheet (pdf, 328k) (opens new window) .

Find out more about when payment can be stopped on GOV.UK.

Information about sanctions on GOV.UK.

Income Support

Lone parents can claim Income Support if they have a child under five years old.

You may also be able to claim Income Support if you're pregnant or have recently given birth.

Carers may be able to claim Income Support to top up their Carer's Allowance.

Whether you're entitled to Income Support depends on your income and savings and (for couples) your partner’s income and savings.

Income Support will eventually be replaced by Universal Credit.

Find out more about Income Support on GOV.UK

You may also be entitled to