Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

Community images

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

> Show product information

50% positive

2 reviews from the community

Sorry, we couldn't find any offers

Review of "Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)"

published 11/05/2010 | costas1234
Member since : 27/01/2004
Reviews : 266
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro a benefit that pays to look and search for work
Cons difficult in some cases to find a job that pays
very helpful

"BOJseekers Allowance"


Unfortunately I have extensive knowledge and experience in claiming Jobseekers Allowance. The benefit is paid to claimants who are actively seeking work. The interesting part about Jobseekers Allowance is that people can claim Jobseekers Allowance, Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit. The Employment Support Allowance is a benefit that I receieved similarly to look for work, but I had this benefit stopped when I had to attend a medical interview at an Atos Origin healthcare centre in Marylebone Central London. The weekly payments are identical for those people claiming either Jobseekers Allowance or Employment Support Allowance.

Introduction to Jobseekers Allowance

It is easy enough to say that to look for work is one thing, but to get paid a small amount to look for work is another. I found the initial process of getting JSA, to be slightly cumbersome and time consuming. Of course I know the whole process inside out as I have been claiming this benefit continously now for the past 8 months. I also have had experience in the past of claiming this benefit for shorter claim periods of time. It is not a nice part of life, being out of work, and wanting to work in the first place, which is partly the reason that I decided to review JSA. It is in short a benefit that people can use to claim money to look for work. So when I first started my claim, I had to endure a lengthy telephone interview which asked me a wide range of personal questions. There is two types of JSA, one is the Income based and there also is the Contributory based benefit. As I have enough previous years of paying into the benefit system from working, I claim Contributory based. If I was in the situation of not having paid tax and National Insurance for a number of years, then I would be effectively claiming the Income based JSA benefit.

My experience of the Claiming process

First off, I was having to give my personal details by phone as well as telling the telephone advisor in Belfast of every detail regarding my savings, income, address details. I had of course had to give them my National Insurance so they could help me, it seemed that without one, I would have no chance of getting the benefit in the first place. The initial telephone call, lasted approximately 40 minutes which was not even a freephone number at the time. I had to effectively pay a few quid, just to make the telephone call. Towards the end of the telephone call, I then was given an appointment at my local JobCentre in Uxbridge Middlesex. I then waited a few days for my appointment to begin, and arrived on time, and saw the man at reception and told them I was a new Claimant of JSA. I then was told to go to the first floor of the JobCentre building, and waited approximately half an hour after the pre arranged appointment time, and I was not pleased at all. At the interview, I then was asked questions similar to those asked during the telephone call. I also spent around forty five minutes of my time, answering these questions. Towards the end of the interview, I was asked to confirm my bank details as well as the type of jobs that I was looking for. So far so good, but then I had to see a different advisor on the same floor, and had to wait a further half an hour to discuss my job search scenario, which encompassed areas such as the types of work that I was looking for, as well as the pay I was expecting to achieve, along with which areas of work that I was willing to work in. I then told them I was prepared to work anywhere in London, as well as being able to work nights or shift work if there was work available. It seemed the whole initial process was very daunting and painful. These job advisors and people who I saw at first were very unhelpful and quite content on themselves if anything else. I also noticed how tidy their desk was when I was waiting as well as when I was seeing them. I found the job advisors to be very organised, but to say that they were efficient or provided a service with a smile, this can not be said about any Job Advisors that I have seen both recently as well as in the past.

So after these pointless interviews I attend fortnightly claim review appointments, which I have to attend on the arranged time and date. I was given a job search log book which I have to detail the searches I have made to different companies. The ways I search which I do only the bare minimum, by telephone recruitment agencies almost in vane efforts, as well as by applying through Reed and Monster recruitment websites. I do find that the service receieved is simple, that I am asked "if my circumstances have changed in the last 2 weeks", which I reply "No I have not" as I am still unemployed almost chronically, what a stupid question. Anyway they also follow this by asking me to sign a form and after this they say "see you in two weeks time". Then I walk away, smoke a rolling tobacco cigarette and then walk back towards the local bus station in Uxbridge. I find that with all this insulting process is not reaching out enough to help people find work. If the government have, jobs for the boys then I continually ask myself, where are these jobs? At least I get paid, and enhanced JSA-DLA payments, but it was only two years ago, with overtime I worked for my local council doing town planning work and was earning £25,000. So the drop in living standards is staggering, the basic weekly JSA is around £65 a week. Even with enhanced DLA I get £356 from the DLA each month, and around £115 a week from this Jobseekers agreement payment. In total with Internet reviews and surveys I get in total around £800 a month, of which hardly anything of that is taxable.

My Experience Continued

Because I was in a mental hospital from Aug 2009-Nov 2009, I am in receipt of DLA and a higher rate of Jobseekers Allowance. For those who are wanting more money from benefits, my simple advice is have a very tough three months in a mental hospital which does feel like being in Prison, it should read PRISON trust me, it is rough and not very pleasant, almost as the whole process of claiming benefits really is.

My Experience Part 2

After 3 months of claiming JSA, I was told to attend a Work Based Interview which covered another useless assessment of what steps I had taken to find work,. This time, they also tried to help me by asking if I wanted to visit a job search or to attend a training course. A few weeks later, I attended a food hygiene course at my local college. I also missed the appointment of the job search at the same college, as I would probably have found this part of the service to be also useless. I still receieved my payments from JSA every 2 weeks.

After 6 months, sheesh did things take a turn for the worst. It was now at 6 months of claiming this benefit, I had to attend yet another work based interview review. This lasted around 1 hour, which took up my time, and I also then was told that I had to sign on the dole, every 2 weeks which made my life even worse, for these 6 weeks, every week. I had to attend an interview session which lasted 30 minutes which covered aspects such as the usual steps of finding work, and what type of job searches that I had made.

The process of going to the Jobcentre every week for 6 weeks when you have claimed JSA for a period of 6 months takes the biscuit. They know that I have no other (significant) income, because it would show up, in my bank account. I like the money I receive from benefits, but I would definitely prefer to work for it. I certainly do not know where to look for work, this whole bigger picture is simply not easy to search for jobs. Also there is no incentive to search for a thousand jobs and to apply to all of them as I would get no increased benefit payment. I also do not have trouble in travelling to my local Jobcentre, as I do enjoy going to the local Costa Coffee and enjoying a good Americano.

My brother is also in the same boat as me, although he passed a Masters degree in Town planning and has trouble in getting a job, although he applies sensibly and professionally. He gets his job interviews, and he is certainly not far off most jobs, just that he lacks adequate work experience. By comparison I worked at jobs at a low level and now I have difficulties in finding any job.

Personally I also visit the website of the Department of Work and Pensions quite regularly, and I also have to apply for some suitable jobs from there. The one disadvantage I find is that the job adverts are not totally up to date, and also the work position might have been filled before I have applied, which wastes my time. I also find that the application process on the website to be not helpful as I would have to telephone a number to get the relevant employers e-mail or work address to complete a job application. There again is little incentive to try too hard. I find that my own situation is largely affected by the fact that I have limited work experience as well as the fact that I have big gaps in my work history. My previous choice of work employers that I have worked for, also give a bad impression on what I have done, i.e work for Ladbrokes betting centre and also my local Council. Hardly inspiring, but I still seek work.

The problems of the Job centre in general I find are that the Job advisors and specialist workers do not make attempts to find people who are looking for work. I remember back over 10 years ago in my life, when the Job centre did actively look for work and get good solid job vacancies for people with little or no skills required for a job. Back then it was good, as I found some warehouse jobs in my local area, but the problem now is that these factories and warehouses have either re located elsewhere in the country, or they have closed down. The process of finding a job now, seems to have quite high entry levels of age, skills and work experience just for a pathetic job that pays peanuts. So, these nagging doubts over my own work future has also seen me curb my spending on a lot of restaurants, hotels and other consumer products.


When there is work, I will muck in for a decent employer, but as things stand I can only give the Jobseekers Allowance a 3 star rating as it pays me benefits to look for work. The money is paid in to my bank account, now as the Job centre have put a stop to Giro cheques which I used to receive. I also prefered receiving a Giro cheque as I could cash this money at a Post Office when I needed the money. There also could be a big improvement to the level of benefit that we receive, though I doubt in today's economic environment there will not be much of an increase for a while. The topic of benefit and the amount of benefit is interesting. People can not say it is the tax payers, who are paying for the unemployed and the lazy. My own view is that I have paid around 10 years of tax and NI contributions into the system. So it is not for the working people to say negative things about people who are looking for work. Rather the employers themselves should "put up or shut up", and start investing in people. It of course is not as simple or straightforward as that. The reality is that benefits such as JSA is not a way of life or a gravy train, especially to those who say or write otherwise. My benefit would not be enough to support myself and my own future family. The £64 or £65 a week payment is not enough.

Another thing that I have not yet mentioned is that people claiming Jobseekers Allowance can claim additional mileage allowance on their travel expenses. It is around 25 pence per mile if of course you are travelling by car. This covers only the one way journey, and not the return leg. So if you have an interview, it is advisable to ask the recruiting employer to assist in the travelling costs. Councils are particularly helpful in meeting the costs of attending a job interview, where as the private companies might not even care. The same situation occurs if you are taking the public transport to an employer the Job centre will pay the travelling costs. As part of the job claiming process if for example you live in London, and you have a job interview in Manchester, or Devon, then almost certainly you are expected to attend the job interview otherwise if the Jobcentre find out that you did not attend, then you are certainly likely to lose your benefits, and you will have to re apply for JSA. Similarly if you are very late or do not turn up at the right time and the right date, you will also not get paid your benefit. If you have found a job or want to close your claim down, then you have to phone your local Jobcentre or the Belfast enquiry centre and explain your changes in circumstances.

Contribution Based Job Seekers Allowance
Age Amount
Aged 16 - 24 £51.85
Aged 25 or over £65.45

Income-based Jobseeker's Allowance
The maximum weekly rates are:

Type of person Amount
Single people, aged under 25 £51.85
Single people, aged 25 or over £65.45
Couples and civil partnerships (both aged 18 or over) £102.75
Lone parent (aged under 18) £51.85
Lone parent (aged 18 or over) £65.45

brrrr, that is all I will write on this object and subject. I post this review a few days before I visit Riga in Latvia with a shoestring budget with a small profit I was lucky to make on the London Stock Market back in February where I wrote in a review that "it was all about the banking system, i.e RBS and Lloyds Banking group. When I wrote that the price of RBS was trading at around 32p, now they are 49p. Even that financial system has flaws. 10 years ago, I could not even afford to go out on holiday, still I can not go for a long holiday.

Community evaluation

This review was read 1197 times and was rated at
61% :
> How to understand evaluation of this review
very helpful

Comments on this review

  • angelboouk123 published 04/06/2010
    I hate the Job Centre..i recently left college and went to see if we could get any help as my partner only works 25hours..they wasted my time 40mins on the phone and then i had to get a baby sitter, look out all my paperwork and go round there for them to tell me within 2mins, well the lady on the phone should have told you that your partner works 2hrs over the ok whatever and I walked out!
  • dazzman published 22/05/2010
    That should have read 'eating out'
  • dazzman published 22/05/2010
    You say that the £64 or £65 a week payment is not enough and I see you get additional benefits but judging from your other reviews you seem to do OK. That's a fair bit of eating eat and travelling.
  • Did you find this review interesting? Do you have any questions? Sign into your Ciao account to leave the author a comment. Log in

Product Information : Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

Manufacturer's product description


Listed on Ciao since: 12/11/2005