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9 Welfare benefits

pdf iconDownload Welfare benefits (PDF File, 640kb)

1. Introduction

2. Who can claim benefits?

3. If you have a low income

4. If you are having a baby or adopting a child

5. If you have children to look after

6. If you are unemployed
You can get Jobseeker's Allowance if you are able to work but you do not have a job or you work less than 16 hours a week. There are two types of Jobseeker's Allowance:

  • contribution-based; and
  • income-based (means-tested).

You may qualify for the contribution-based benefit if you have paid National Insurance contributions in recent years. If you are on a low income, you may get income-based Jobseeker's Allowance based on your circumstances and income, either on its own or on top of contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance.

To qualify for benefit, you must prove to the Jobcentre that you are looking for work, and you must be available for work (you can't normally be a full-time student, for example).

If you are claiming contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance by itself, you claim only for yourself. If you are getting any income-based Jobseeker's Allowance, you claim for yourself and a partner who lives with you (including a same-sex partner). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will take into account your partner's income and savings, as well as yours, when deciding whether you can get income-based Jobseeker's Allowance. You can't get income-based Jobseeker's Allowance if your partner works for 24 hours or more a week.

Some couples must make joint claims for Jobseeker's Allowance, which means they both have to look for work and attend the Jobcentre.

If you apply for income-based Jobseeker's Allowance and you are the parent of a child who lives with you, but the other parent lives elsewhere, for now you will be treated as having applied to the Child Support Agency (CSA). You will have to give information about your child's other parent, unless this would put you or your child at risk. If you keep back this information without a good reason, your income-based Jobseeker's Allowance may be reduced. By the end of 2008, the government plans to end the rule that treats people on income-based Jobseeker's Allowance as having applied to the CSA.

7. If you are ill and can´t work

8. If you have a disability

9. If you are just starting work

10. If you have retired or are about to retire

11. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies

12. Where do I claim?

13. What must I do when I claim?

14. What if I disagree with a decision about my claim?

15. What if I´ve been badly treated?

16. The Human Rights Act

17. Further help

18. About this leaflet

This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.

Leaflet Version: June 2008