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If you're unemployed

Not working? Unsure what benefits you are entitled to?

Check out the facts here….  

Warning: Unemployment benefit is complicated and decisions are based on individuals so find out more about your own situation from your nearest Youth Support Centre or Jobcentre Plus. The information here is a brief guide and your Youth Support adviser will be able to help you find out more details.

If you leave school for training, an apprenticeship or volunteering and are under 18

Child benefit

If you start training, an apprenticeship or a volunteering opportunity after Year 11, your parents/carers will carry on getting Child Benefit for you until the end of August.

If you have not started training, an apprenticeship or a volunteering opportunity by then, they can claim extended Child Benefit for you, but only if you have registered with your local Youth Support Centre.

Extended Child Benefit can last for up to 20 weeks from when you left school; it finishes as soon as you start a job or training.

If you start on a Foundation Learning programme (previously called Entry to Employment) or if you stay in full-time education (not higher education) your parents will continue to get Child Benefit for you, along with any funding they receive for you from other benefits.

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

This is not usually available to young people under 18.

However there are some under 18s who can get income-based JSA. This is usually because of special circumstances such as:

  • being forced to live away from home and suffering severe hardship as a result
  • being part of a couple who are responsible for a child

Your Youth Support Adviser will be able to help you find out more about this and fill out the forms you need to apply for JSA.

Income Support (IS)

There are specific rules and regulations about who is able to claim IS. It is not usually available to 16/17 year olds however if you are 16 / 17 you may be able to claim depending on your individual circumstances.

Rules and regulations are complicated. Ask for help from your Youth Support Adviser if you're not sure what you're entitled to.

Housing benefit

If you are on benefits or a low income and live in rented accomodation or lodgings you may be able to get help towards your housing costs.

If you are receiving JSA or IS you will get forms to claim housing benefit in your claim pack.

If you are not claiming these benefits you can get the forms for housing benefit from your local council.

If you are over 18 and unemployed

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA)

You may be able to claim JSA if you are unemployed and actively looking for a job. To find out more or make a claim go to your local Jobcentre Plus or visit

You may also be entitled to help with your housing costs.

Housing benefit

If you are on a low income or benefits and live in rented accommodation or lodgings you may be able to claim housing benefit. 

Housing benefit is designed to help with accommodation costs. You may not receive all the cost of your rent. Housing benefit is not designed to cover the cost of your bills such as water, electricity, gas etc

To make an application contact the housing department of your local council. If you are making a claim for JSA you will receive housing benefit claim forms in your pack.

Council tax benefit

If you are eligible to pay council tax you may be able to get some help towards the cost of this if you are on a low income or benefits.

You can get a claim form from your local council or as part of the pack when you sign on.

To find out more information on benefits, what you may be entitled to and how to make a claim talk visit or ask at your local Jobcentre Plus. 

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