All you need to know about Job Seekers Allowance part 2

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Do I have to sign on during the school holidays?

What do I have to do to ‘actively seek work’?

What does it mean by ‘being available for work’?

I want to be the primary carer for my children. Can I work part-time?

I already work part-time, can I still claim Job Seeker’s Allowance?

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Do I have to sign on every fortnight during the school holidays? 
During the school holidays you won’t necessarily have to attend the fortnightly Jobsearch Reviews. Instead, you may be allowed to sign on by post. Discuss with your personal adviser how to do this. The JSA advisors guide states the following:

In some cases a person with care and responsibilities for a child may not be able to attend the Job Centre Plus office for fortnightly job centre review during the school holidays, for example they are unable to make arrangements for short term childcare to cover their attendance.

In such circumstances and where the advisor agrees that no appropriate, affordable short term childcare is available to cover the attendance at the fortnightly attendance review, a person with care and responsibility will be allowed to sign by post during the school holiday period.

What do I have to do to ‘actively seek work’?
In order to claim JSA, you need to show your adviser that you are looking for work, or improving your chances of gaining work. This could mean writing a CV, or updating an existing one, completing a job application, speaking to a potential employer, or going for a job interview.

What does it mean by ‘being available for work’?
In order to claim JSA, you need to be in a situation where you are able to start a job. For example, if you are offered a job interview, you will need to attend within 7 days, and if you are offered a job you should be able to start within 28 days. You will need to prioritise being available for paid work over any voluntary or educational commitments (see below for further information).

I don’t want to work full-time because I still want to be the primary carer for my children. Can I work part-time?
The first time you meet your adviser at Jobcentre Plus, it will be important to explain what kind of work you want to do and for how many hours. If you are a single parent who cares for children who are aged 16 years and under, you are entitled to state that you do not want to work for more than 16 hours per week, even if there are no such jobs in your area.

I already work part-time, can I still claim Job Seeker’s Allowance?
You need to tell your adviser exactly how much you are earning and how many hours you work per week, as this can affect your claim. If you are currently working under 16 hours per week then you will be entitled to claim JSA. Talk to your adviser about what hours you would and would not like to do – if you are caring for children who are 16 years old or under, you can say that you do not want to work for more than 16 hours per week. This should not affect your claim.

More questions
For more information about JSA and Income Support, upcoming changes and entitlement see All you need to know about Job Seekers Allowance
 
For information about JSA and resigning, volunteering, sanctions and childcare see All you need to know about Job Seekers Allowance part 3
 
For further information about JSA and studying, disabilities, foster parents, home educating see All you need to know about Job Seekers Allowance part 4
 
Remember you can get personalised confidential email advice by contacting our Money & Benefit expert.
 
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