Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

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Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

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Review of "Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)"

published 24/12/2009 | tink-er-bell
Member since : 05/08/2009
Reviews : 111
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro Getting paid to look for work
Cons The advisors and pay can be small
very helpful

"Frustrating Cash for Job Hunting"

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

This review is for Jobseekers Allowance.

What is Jobseekers Allowance?

Well most people refer Jobseekers Allowance as the ‘Dole’. This is a form of benefit which is paid by the government to people who are out of work and wanting to get back into work as soon as possible.

If you are aged between 16-60 you can be paid this but the idea is that you have to be seeking work and keep signing on every 2 weeks. The money which is paid to people is paid by the Department of work and pensions run by the Government.

My Experience

I was recently out of work due to sickness and to cut a long story short I was asked to leave my employment mutually for which I agreed. After a few weeks of wondering what to do next I discovered Jobseekers Allowance.

I went to the local Jobcentre and they told me to come back and they had this appointment ready for me. I turned up and I had to bring with me some paperwork such as identification, national insurance number, previous pay slips, and bank statements and had to turn up on time or not be accepted.

I remember waiting for what seemed forever to see this lady. She sat me down and asked me to show her identification to prove who I was and she told me what the whole process entailed and how it would benefit me in the long run.

She told me all the rules and regulations which I will process below but once we had established all the conditions we then got to the serious part.
They wanted to know what my bank statements showed and they could take down the amount I currently had, this would be crucial as it might determine how much money you can receive weekly.

I provided this information and after the lady was satisfied she told me to wait whilst another advisor spoke to me. After much waiting around an hour this lady from the other side of this room called me over to discuss a contract agreement.

The idea is that you agree to certain conditions and that you carry out certain job searches otherwise your benefits stop altogether. My agreement was made with this lady and I had to sign three pieces of paper to confirm that I was ok with everything and I was handed this booklet which I needed to use to write down the jobs I was applying for.

I then left and was told to return on my first signing on date which was 2 weeks away. I got home and had this diary which is so small to write on but I tried anyways. I visited my first time to sign on and you hand your booklet to a desk and it has a number on and you need to be there for the time you have been stated. You are then called over to speak to this advisor which seems to last just a minute in time, your asked have you worked and they check the diary to confirm you are doing what you agreed and then you leave with a signature to return in 2 weeks time.
After doing this for a number of weeks I then had to meet someone for a ‘back to work meeting’ which was a total mess and didn’t do me any good at all.

2 months after being on Jobseekers Allowance I managed to find a job through a friend of my family and have been there ever since, however I only got this through hard work of my own otherwise I would still be on Jobseekers Allowance currently.

My Conditions

I had to agree to 3 conditions with the job centre and the first condition was that I would apply for at least 3 jobs a week. I had to note down the company and what I did in the diary and make sure it was presented neatly and that people could understand me correctly.

The second term was that I would look at least twice a week on the job centre plus website for any jobs and ring up for at least one job a week. You have to ring up for some jobs to get the details so they know if you have tried to ring up or not.
My final agreement term was that I would actively look in the local jobs paper and apply for at least one job a week in this paper. If I didn’t then they would end the agreement we had and stop the benefit coming through.

The agreement I had was a tough one because if the website was down which at times it was then you might end up having problems and if no jobs were going at all either then you were also going to find trouble with them.
Back to work interview

I had to go to one of these on my 6th week of being with the jobseekers allowance benefit. You have to turn up because if you do not turn up they will take the benefit of you as well.

The back to work interview is you either in a group of other people or a single interview (Which I had) and you have to discuss ways you are trying to find work. You can tell them as much as you like or as little as you like and they will help you discover new ways to apply for jobs.

They then discuss with you how your CV looks and how your actual style at an interview would be like and it is small little things like that they want to discuss with you.

If you were like me I found it a real pain to sit there for an hour to listen to someone tell you how to find work when if you were really actively looking you would know you need a CV and you know how to apply for jobs through your agreement. I just found the whole purpose of the meeting a poor one.
The Diary

You have this job diary which is where you write in what jobs you have applied for. You have to write down the date of the job you have applied for and what job position it was.

You then have to write how you applied so whether you rang or wrote to them with a CV attached and have to tell the jobseekers advisor whether you intend to follow it up if you have not heard anything.

You have to be careful how you write certain things down in the diary because if you write down a job and claim you sent a CV but tell them in the later part you will wait for a reply it seems you are not interested at all.

You have about 7 jobs you can write on each page of this diary and then you have to turn it over and start again and once you are done with the diary they give you a brand new one to use.

The overall idea is that you take this booklet with you every time you visit the jobcentre so they can assess how you’re doing.

The Money

Well the money I received was pretty poor I was on just £39.12 a week and for some it might seem a good deal but for me it wasn’t because I had bills to pay and there was many of them and it was lowered because I had a few thousands pound in my bank account.

If you work under 16 hours a week then the jobseekers allowance can be redeemed as well because it is classed as your working under the amount of hours needed to survive.

The funny part to this is they told me if I got a job with 16 hours a week or under they would still pay me £39.12 a week so I am confused how they get there totals.
So the money varies and I know if you have nothing in your bank account at all the money can be around £50 a week but for me I had money to pay off a huge bill which was my car insurance and that was why I had so much money in my account but they do not take that into consideration when the totals are revealed.
The Advisors

The advisors are there to assist you apparently yet not once did mine assist me. She would ask me to sit down and ask had I worked the last two weeks and then she would sign the diary I gave her and just simply say see you in two weeks and I was gone and you would waste a day trip to do this and I just found it madness.
When I first signed up to jobseekers allowance I was told the advisors will do a job search with you and give you extra information but they are rude and just cannot wait to remove you from the desk.

Good Points

You actually manage to get some sort of money for the effort of looking for work which might not be much but at the end of the day it is money for you.
You will always gain motivation to look for work and to be honest many of us after a few months without work will definitely grow frustrated and lose the will to keep searching so for me it is a must to have this benefit as it makes you better morale.

If you found a job which was a contract for just 3 months and then you were let go you could easily reclaim the jobseekers allowance again just by ringing up and getting a date fixed for an interview so you do not have to wait forever for chance to regain some of the money you might need.

Every two weeks the money is paid directly into your bank account without any problems at all and if there is going to be any trouble perhaps due to a bank holiday it will arrive the next working day so you are always aware of when the money is being paid in.

Bad Points

I find the way they dive into your personal life but without listening first wrong. I had money there which was for a bill which I showed them but they had no interest so I then was out of pocket by over £50 a month so I find it wrong especially when I have worked my whole life and never claimed a single benefit before.

I hate the fact you get no help at all from anywhere and if you go against the agreement then you are the one who loses out. My problem would be what if for instance there was no website which was working for a week how could you write down you visited the website when they know you could not, it would mean you are out of pocket.

You also have to be prepared to wait in what could be a very long queue as well because each week when I was there it seemed more and more people were turning up for their diaries to be signed so you are sort of left in frustration by the time delays as well, but I guess if you want something badly enough you will wait.

The final frustration is that you will spend all that time visiting them to make sure you attend all meetings and times and things and they cannot wait to hurry you along so you are again left angry by the treatment you receive.


If you are out of work and in need of some cash then this might be the best route for you. You have to be actively seeking work and agree to a contract in other words with them and if you fail to adhere to that contract you will end up without any money and lose the benefit.

I would say to people also that if you have a large sum of money in the bank and your using it for a payment which has not be done yet why not wait until the payment has gone through before claiming it could mean the difference of over £50 a month.
For me it would be more beneficial if the advisors actually offered assistances rather than push you out as quickly as they could.

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Comments on this review

  • loopz27 published 08/01/2010
    Wow! That was marvellously in-depth! Thank you. (Although, to be honest, I would have given them 1 star!)
  • kiss_me2070 published 06/01/2010
    Great review - E! x
  • Renza published 31/12/2009
    Excellent, detailed review :)
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Product Information : Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

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Listed on Ciao since: 12/11/2005