How to Apply For Unemployment Benefits

If like many people you have found yourself unemployed in the current economic climate, then you must remember to sign up for unemployment benefits. Unless you have a huge amount of money, you are going to find it hard to make ends meet without support from the state. So if you haven’t managed to successfully sign up for unemployment benefits so far follow this guide and it may become a bit clearer:

What Benefits Are Available:

  • Jobseekers Allowance
  • Housing Benefit
  • Council Tax Benefit
  • Child Benefit

Jobseekers Allowance

Jobseekers Allowance is a weekly allowance paid in place of a working wage to enable you to buy food and clothes for you and your family. It comes in two forms, the contribution and income-based forms. Depending on whether you have made enough National Insurance contributions from working in the past few years, you may qualify for contributions based JSA. This is how JSA works:

  • Must apply at a Jobcentre
  • 18 years of age or over
  • Be able and available for work
  • Show evidence of actively seeking employment through fortnightly meetings with officer at jobcentre.
  • Not be in full time education
  • Work less than 16 hours a week
  • Have less than £16,000 or less in savings for income based JSA.

Contributions Based JSA (Eligible for 6 Months):


Weekly Amount

16 to 24


25 +


Income Based JSA:


Weekly Amount

Single (under 25)

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job search


Single (25 or over)


Couples (both aged 18 or over)


Lone parent (18 or over)


Lone parent (under 18)




Housing Benefit

Housing benefit isn’t just paid to people who are unemployed, but also to people who are on a very low wage. The benefit is paid either to you or your landlord directly whichever you prefer. To get housing benefit you must:

  • Have savings less than £16,000
  • Earn a low or no income
  • Pay rent
  • Are not in full time education
  • Are not an asylum seeker
  • Do not live with a partner who claims housing benefit
  • Not be under 25 living in anything other than a bedsit or one bedroom shared accommodation.


Weekly Amount

One bedroom property


Two bedroom property


Three bedroom property


Four bedroom property



Council Tax benefit

Council tax benefit is similar to housing benefit, as it is usually applied for at the same time. It also isn’t just paid to people who are unemployed, but to people who are on a very low wage as well.  It is designed to help you pay either part or your entire council tax bill. The benefit is not paid to you, instead it is deducted directly from your council tax bill. To be eligible you must:

  • Have savings less than 16,000
  • Earn a low or no income


Amount of Benefit

Rebate for second adults JSA or Pension Credit


Second adults weekly income less than £180


Second adults weekly income between £180 -£234



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Child Benefit

Child benefit is a tax free benefit that is paid monthly and does not depend on a person’s employment status, or income. In order to claim it you must fill out a claim form which can be found here.  In order to be eligible you have to:

  • Be responsible for a child
  • Pay to look after a child as long as child benefit is not already being claimed by the person they live with.
  • The child is under 16 or 20 and not in higher education.



Eldest or only child


Additional children

£13.40 per child

You should not be ashamed to collect your benefits. If you find yourself unemployed, then it is your right to collect them and the only logical thing to do, if you want to support your family while you look for work. Don’t let anyone make you feel like a scrounger.