Benefits and tax credits when you’ve lost your job

Money Advice Service

If you’ve just lost your job, you might be wondering what out of work benefits you’ll be able to claim. The benefits available depends on how long you were working for, your National Insurance Contributions (NICs), how you left your job and household circumstances. What you’ll be able to claim also depends on how long you were working for.

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What benefits can you claim if you’ve lost your job?

If you’ve lost your job, the main benefit you can claim is still Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). But the kind of JSA depends on your National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and household circumstances.

On top of JSA, you might be able to get help with costs like housing and childcare through Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is replacing a number of benefits you would have normally claimed, including Tax Credits and Housing Benefit.

New-style Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you’ve made enough Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) in the last two full tax years, you might be able to get new-style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

You can get this for up to six months and it will be paid into your bank, building society, or credit union account every two weeks.

If you need help with things, such as housing costs or bringing up children, you will have to make a separate application for Universal Credit.

Universal Credit is based on household income, so your partner’s income will affect how much you will get. Your partner’s income will not affect your claim for new-style JSA.

Find out more about claiming Universal Credit here.

Contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance

If either you or your partner is above Pension Credit age and have made enough Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs), you might be able to claim contributory Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

If you meet these conditions, you will not yet be asked to make a new claim for Universal Credit. This means you will still be able to make a new claim or continue to claim other benefits like Tax Credits or Housing Benefit.

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is one of the benefits being replaced by Universal Credit and most people will have to make a claim for Universal Credit instead.

Whether you can claim will depend on your household income as it is a means tested benefit.

You might still be able to claim income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) if:

  • you have three or more children, and/or
  • either you or your partner is above Pension Credit age and
  • you have NOT made enough Class 1 National Insurance Contributions (NICs) to claim contributory JSA.

If you meet these conditions, you will not yet be asked to make a new claim for Universal Credit. This means you will still be able to make a new claim or continue to claim other benefits like Tax Credits.

Savings above £6,000 and your partner’s income will affect the amount of Universal Credit you could get.

Tax credits

Most people will not be able to make a new claim for Working Tax Credits (WTC) or Child Tax Credits (CTC) and will be asked to apply for Universal Credit.

If you’re already getting tax credits and lose your job, this is a change of circumstances and might mean you will have to make a new claim for Universal Credit.

You must tell the Tax Credit Office within 30 days. You can call the Tax Credits Helpline on 0345 300 3900.

You might still be able to claim Tax Credits if either you or your partner is of Pension Credit age.

Find out more about Claiming tax credits.

Benefits to help with housing costs

Help with your rent

Depending on your income and savings, you could get some help with your rent from Housing Benefit or the housing costs element of Universal Credit.

Help with Council Tax

You might also be able to get help with Council Tax.

Help with mortgage interest payments

If you’re a homeowner, you might qualify for help with your mortgage interest payments.

Benefits to help with other costs

There are other specialist benefits available, so whatever your circumstances, make sure you’re getting the right entitlements.

Use the Turn2Us benefit calculator to find out what benefits you could get.

Welfare and educational grants

If you’re on a low income, there might be some support available through welfare and educational grants from charities.

You can search for grants on Turn2us.

Statutory redundancy pay

If you’ve been made redundant, you’ll normally be entitled to statutory redundancy pay if you’re an employee, have made enough National Insurance Contributions (NICs) and you’ve been working for your current employer for at least 2 years.

You should also check your employment contract to see if you’re entitled to contractual redundancy pay as well.

Find out more in our guide to redundancy pay.

Are you entitled to benefits if you’ve been sacked?

If you’ve been dismissed from your job because of misconduct, or you left it without a good reason, there might be a delay before you can start getting Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit.

This is because your Jobcentre Plus work coach is allowed to apply a sanction to your benefit – in other words, stop it being paid for a certain number of weeks. It’s up to your work coach how long the sanction lasts.

If your circumstances change

Remember to tell Jobcentre Plus or Jobs and Benefits Office if you go back to work or if your circumstances change.

The same goes for HM Revenue & Customs – you could be fined £300 if you don’t tell the Tax Credits Office your circumstances have changed.

You might still be entitled to some help when you go back to work and your income is low.

For example, if you were getting Jobseeker’s Allowance you might carry on getting Housing Benefit or Working Tax Credit.

If you are getting Universal Credit, your payments might gradually reduce until your income rises to the point where you’re no longer eligible to get it.

Tell the Tax Credits Office (0345 300 3900) when your circumstances have changed.

This article is provided by the Money Advice Service.

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Some important information about Rest Less Money

We want you to understand the positives, but also the limitations of using our site. We operate in a journalistic manner and therefore all information, guidance or suggestions provided are intended to be general in nature, and you should not rely on any of the information on the site in connection with the making of any financial decision.

When we set out to build Rest Less Money, we wanted to be a trusted place where you could find helpful information about financial matters affecting the over 50s. As a free to use resource, we try hard to provide the best information we can, but we cannot guarantee that we won’t occasionally make mistakes. So please note that you use the information on our site at your own risk, and we can’t accept liability if things go wrong.

Key things to remember when using Rest Less Money:

We do not offer financial advice – As a journalistic site, it’s important to know that we do not provide financial advice. You should always do your own research before choosing any financial product so that you can be certain it is right for you and your specific circumstances. If you are in any doubt, please seek professional financial advice from a regulated financial advisor.

No Liability – please note that you use the information on Rest Less Money at your own risk and we can’t accept liability for how you choose to use the information given on our site. We will often provide links to content or products and services available on other third-party websites. These are provided purely for your convenience and we cannot be held responsible for any content, or any of the products and services offered on any website that we link to.

 

Accuracy of Information – We try to make sure that all the information provided on Rest Less Money is correct at the time of publishing as we want it to be the most helpful resource possible. Sadly, we are not perfect however, and so we can make no guarantees as to the completeness, accuracy, adequacy or suitability of the information available on the site.
Whilst we work hard to try and provide accurate information, deals and prices can change, so whilst they may be correct at the time of writing, providers may subsequently decide to alter them later – so always double check first.

A final note on the Rest Less Community Forums – always remember that anyone can post their opinion on the Rest Less Community Forums, so it can be very different from our own opinion and may not be factual or well researched. Always be wary of any content posted on the forums and be sure to do your own research and due diligence on anything suggested. 

We hope you find Rest Less Money a useful resource and we would welcome your feedback at [email protected] on how to make it even better. For more information on any of the above you can read our full terms and conditions.

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