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Jobseeker's Allowance - Joint Claims

Jobseekers' Allowance (JSA) joint claims are claims where both members of certain couples have to look for a job and satisfy the conditions for getting JSA.

This helps ensure both members are directly involved in the workforce and can receive all available help and advice in order to find work.

Who has to make a joint claim?

Couples with no dependant children claiming income based Jobseeker's Allowance will be required to make a joint claim where:

  • at least one member of the couple was born after 28 October 1947
  • is also aged 18 or over

In joint claim cases both members will be required to sign the application form and accept equal responsibility for the claim and the reporting of any relevant changes of circumstances.

Each member will normally have to attend a New Jobseeker Interview and sign an individual Jobseeker's Agreement unless they are already taking part in a Steps to Work programme or are excused from meeting certain JSA conditions if they meet certain criteria.

People for who joint claims are not appropriate

There are certain circumstances where couples are not required to make a joint claim:

  • either member is working over 16 hours but under 25 hours at the outset of the claim
  • either member no longer qualifies
  • one member is over the age at which they can get State Pension
  • either member is in receipt of Young Person’s Bridging Allowance only
  • payment of a European Economic Area imported benefit is being made (whether or not there is also an element of income based Jobseeker’s Allowance)
  • either member is a Person from Abroad
  • either member is subject to immigration controls and has no recourse to public funds or cannot obtain a work permit
  • the woman is pregnant and within 11 weeks of her expected week of confinement and does not wish to make herself available for work or is in receipt of Statutory Maternity Pay or Maternity Allowance
  • one member is in receipt of Statutory Sick Pay from a job of 16 hours or more per week
  • one member of the couple is temporarily absent from the UK at the date of the claim

Exemption Categories within Joint Claims for JSA

The following people can be excused from meeting the conditions:

  • people incapable of work due to pregnancy
  • carers
  • persons over the age at which they can get Pension Credit
  • refugees on a course to improve their English
  • people required to attend court
  • certain people in relevant education
  • people aged 18 in full time education
  • people in employment who live in a residential home
  • people involved in a trade dispute

What else should I know?

Depending on your circumstances you can be excused from having to meet some JSA rules - for example the rule that you must be capable of work, or that you must not be in full time education. Note though that in a joint claim only one of you can be excused at a time.

If you are excused from meeting JSA rules your Social Security or Jobs and Benefits office will advise you of the start date and length of time you can be excused for.

You will not receive National Insurance (NI) credits for the period you are excused unless certain circumstances apply. Your Social Security or Jobs and Benefits office can advise you further.

Help and advice about joint claims

You can get more help and information on how the joint claims process will affect your claim to Jobseeker's Allowance by contacting your local Social Security or Jobs & Benefits office.