Contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)
This is a contributory benefit for women who have worked and made National Insurance contributions in the last few years
What is it?
An allowance which lasts for up to 26 weeks for people who are unemployed or working less than 16 hours a week (it used to be called Unemployment Benefit).
Who gets it?
You get it if you have paid enough National Insurance contributions during the last two tax years that do not overlap the current calendar year. You have to be available for work for as many hours as your caring responsibilities permit and you have to be actively seeking work.
How much is it?
If you are under 18 you get £35.65 a week; if you are aged 18-24 you get £46.85 a week; if you are 25 or over you get £59.12 a week. Your partner's earnings are not taken into account but if you are in part-time work, your earnings are.
How do I claim?
Claim by calling Jobseeker Direct on 0845 6060234. The benefit is paid directly into your bank account. You will have to go to the Jobcentre every fortnight to 'sign on' to show that you are available for work.
If I resign from my job and don't go back to work after maternity leave, can I claim anything?
You may be able to claim contribution-based JSA for up to six months. However you will have to show that you had 'just cause' for voluntarily leaving your job. You also have to be available for work for as many hours a week as your caring responsibilities permit (and not less than 16).
If you haven't paid enough National Insurance contributions you may be able to claim income-based JSA instead, depending on your personal circumstances.
If you are a single parent you may be able to claim Income Support once the baby is born.
If you are in a couple and your partner has a low income, you may be able to claim Working Tax Credit (WTC).
The information included here gives benefit rates from April 2007. It is important always to get up-to-date information.
For details of publications, leaflets and information packs and training courses contact:
1-3 Berry St
020 7253 7243
Helpline for low income families: 0800 013 0313.