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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Benefits for prisoners

If you are in prison or detained in legal custody, it usually means your entitlement to benefit will stop; if you are owed any arrears you can make a request in writing for these to be paid to someone else.
If your partner has gone to prison you may still be entitled to benefits as long as you satisfy the benefit entitlement conditions in your own right.

What is available when you enter prison

Employment and Benefit Surgeries are run in all prisons that require the service. If you are going into prison you’ll be able to close down your claims and to receive any money you are owed..

If you are on a short custodial sentence

If you go to prison on a short custodial sentence, a Jobcentre Plus Employment Benefit Service Adviser will try to see if your employer can keep your job open for you.

Before you are released from prison

While you are still in prison you will be able to talk to an Employment Benefit Service Adviser who can talk to you about education and training and help you to look for a job.

The adviser can also give you information about benefits and the Social Fund, which may help you financially when you are first released.

What to do when you are released

If you haven’t had access to an Employment Benefit Service Adviser in prison, you should contact Jobcentre Plus immediately to make sure you receive job hunting help and to prevent any delay in payments.


There is a programme known as Freshstart for you to use. If you want to claim Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) the programme will help book a New Jobseeker Interview as soon as possible after you are released. The programme will ensure you are in contact with Jobcentre Plus as early as possible to consider jobs and training as well as sorting out your JSA claim.

If you are looking to claim other types of benefits you will still need to contact Jobcentre Plus as they will tell who to contact. You can make a claim as soon as you leave prison.

You can contact Jobcentre Plus to make a claim on 0800 055 6688.

If you have a speech or hearing impairment a text phone service is available by calling 0800 023 4888.

Additional links

Benefits advice online

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