If your employment or self-employment has been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) virus, make sure that you're applying for the benefit and support that is appropriate to your circumstances.
If you are unable to work due to an underlying condition, are self isolating or are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should not proceed with a claim to ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).
If you are fit for work but have lost your employment because of the impact of the COVID-19 virus or any other reason, you should proceed with a claim to ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if you meet the qualifying conditions.
You may contact the Benefits freephone by ringing 0800 022 4250 for any queries you have regarding Jobseeker’s Allowance or ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance.
'New style' JSA
Universal Credit replaced Jobseeker’s Allowance. However if you have been credited with enough National Insurance contributions, you may be entitled to 'New Style' Jobseeker’s Allowance. Your partner’s income and savings won’t affect how much you’re paid.
You can get ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance for up to 182 days. Depending on your circumstances, it can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit.
If you get both at the same time, your ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance payment will be deducted from your Universal Credit payment – you aren’t guaranteed to get any extra money.
If you get ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will get class 1 National Insurance credits. In some circumstances you may only get these credits and no money.
How to claim
Complete your claim for New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance.
This form is for Northern Ireland claims only.
If you are unable to complete your claim online then you may also claim ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance by contacting the Benefits freephone number on 0800 022 4250.
If you use sign language, you might be able to use the video relay service to claim ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance using British Sign Language (BSL) or Irish Sign Language (ISL). To access the service go to:
If you're deaf or suffer from hearing loss, you can contact the Department for Communities by using a Textphone to ring 0800 587 1297 and you will be put through to the TexBox service.
During the COVID-19 period, telephones lines will be extremely busy and you may experience a longer period of waiting time for your call to be answered.
If you can, you should complete the claim form via the link above.
Once your claim has been received you will be contacted to complete the claim form by telephone call. You may receive a SMS text beforehand just to let you know when to expect the call. It's important that you answer the call as not doing may delay your claim being processed.
When claiming Job Seeker’s Allowance you may receive text messages (SMS) from the Department for Communities (DfC). They will always be clearly marked as ‘DfC’ and will never ask you to give, or click on a link, to give personal information or financial details by message or email.
Under normal circumstances, as part of your entitlement, to ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance you would have needed to attend your JBO for an interview, where a work coach would help you draw up a 'commitment' which would set out the steps you agree to take to find work.
Due to the current COVID-19 crisis this interview will be carried out by telephone.