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Tuesday, 2 October 2023

Benefits and help when looking for work

If you're unemployed and available for work, you may be able to get Jobseeker's Allowance and other benefits. Jobcentre Plus may also give you help and support to look for a job. Find out more, including how to get benefit advice.

Benefits if you're unemployed

Benefits adviser

Use the online benefits adviser to get an estimate of the benefits you may get. You can also find out how a change in your circumstances may affect your benefits. A change in your circumstances includes starting work or increasing your hours of work.

Jobseeker's Allowance

To find out about Jobseeker's Allowance, who can get it and how to claim online go to Jobseeker's Allowance.

Help looking for work

New jobseeker interview

When you claim Jobseeker's Allowance, you'll need to attend an interview at the Jobcentre to identify how you can improve your chances of finding work. This is called a 'new jobseeker interview'.

A Jobcentre Plus adviser will agree with you what you need to do to improve your chances of finding work. They will also tell you about the help that may be available to you, like:

  • access to specialist help for things like writing a CV, preparation for interviews, confidence building and work skills
  • help to look for work if you haven’t had experience of looking for a job for some time
  • help with reading, maths or with your English
  • information about improving your skills to suit the type of jobs available locally

This support depends on your circumstances and what's available in your area. At the new jobseeker interview, the Jobcentre Plus adviser will agree with you:

  • what you need to do to find work
  • changes you might need to make to improve your chances of success
  • any additional help you may need

This is recorded on your Jobseeker’s Agreement.

The Jobseeker's Agreement

Your Jobseeker’s Agreement is a record of what you and your adviser agreed during your new jobseeker interview. This includes what you need to do, so that you continue to receive your benefit.

If you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance you will need to show what you have been doing to look for work.

The Jobsearch Diary (ES4JP) is a useful tool to record the steps you have taken to look for work. You can download a copy of the ES4JP using the following link.

Additional adviser interviews

So that you get the help you need to improve your chances of finding work, you may be invited to attend additional adviser interviews.

At these interviews the adviser will review previous agreements and discuss further actions to help improve your chances of finding work. They will also tell you about any extra support you may be able to get. This may include the following:

Additional adviser support

To help you in your jobsearch an adviser may decide to spend extra time on a one to one basis with you.

Voluntary work experience

This is for anyone aged 16 to 24 who is getting Jobseeker’s Allowance. It gives you the opportunity to take part in a work placement with a real employer. It could be helpful if you have little or no recent work experience.

Work Together

This is for anyone who is unemployed and looking for work. Work Together gives you the opportunity to volunteer with a local voluntary organisation. Volunteering can help you to improve your chances of finding work.

Work Clubs

These are for anyone who is unemployed and looking for work. Work Clubs give you the opportunity to make the most of the local knowledge that's available, to help you in your search for a job.

Enterprise Clubs

These can help if you’re interested in becoming self-employed or setting up a business. If you’re unemployed, Enterprise Clubs offer you the opportunity to meet other people who want to set up their own business. You can also meet people who are already self-employed and business advisers.

New Enterprise Allowance

This may help you if you want to start your own business. If you've been getting Jobseeker's Allowance for at least six months you could get a mentor and financial support to help set up your business.

Sector-based work academies

If you’re getting Jobseeker’s Allowance or Employment and Support Allowance, sector-based work academies could improve your chances of finding work. Taking part is voluntary and gives you the opportunity of training, a work experience placement and a guaranteed interview for a job or apprenticeship.

Work Programme

This can help you prepare for, find and stay in work. You will be referred to the Work Programme at the most appropriate point in your claim to benefit.

Information leaflet from Jobcentre Plus

Jobcentre Plus have produced a factsheet that gives you information about Jobseeker's Allowance and flexibilities for lone parents.

Benefits when you go back to work

When you return to work, some of your benefits will carry on for a short while. You may be able to get other benefits and support once you're working. See 'Benefits and help when going back to work' to find out more.

Additional links

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