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Starting or looking for work

Key information

There are a number of different schemes to help people on a low income who are looking for or starting a new job.

Applies to: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Age rules: you must be 16 or over, but in some circumstances you must be 25 or over

Administered by: JobCentre Plus

 

Index

You can read through this information sheet, or go directly to the sections you want to read by clicking on these links:

Who does it help?

Eligibility for some of these schemes depends upon whether you were getting certain benefits before you started the new job.

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What schemes are available?

Universal Jobmatch

Universal Jobmatch is a government website to help people find jobs. You can use it to:

  • Search for jobs
  • Create and upload your CV
  • Get email alerts about jobs
  • Apply for jobs online
  • Keep a record of your job search activity.

You can find Universal Jobmatch through the Gov.UK website (link opens in a new window).

To use some of the services you will need to register for a Government Gateway account (link opens in a new window).

If you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance, a JobcentrePlus adviser may require you to register with Universal Jobmatch and you could be at risk of being sanctioned if you refuse. This means your Jobseeker's Allowance could be stopped or reduced for a period.

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Employment on trial scheme

If you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance you may be able to try out a job of 16 hours or more a week, and as long as you do the job for between four and twelve weeks you can return to Jobseeker's Allowance without it affecting your benefit if it doesn't work out. This doesn't apply if you are sacked or there has been misconduct.

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New Enterprise Allowance

The New Enterprise Allowance programme is intended to help unemployed people start a business through business mentoring and a weekly allowance. You can claim it if you have been claiming JSA for 26 weeks or more and live in England, Scotland or Wales.

If you take part in the New Enterprise Allowance scheme, you will get access to a volunteer business mentor who will provide guidance and support as you develop your business plan and through the early months of trading. Once you show that you have a viable business with potential for growth, you will be able to access financial support. A weekly allowance paid at £65 a week for the first 13 weeks and £33 a week for a further 13 weeks will be available. 

There is also the chance to apply for a loan of up to £1,000 to help with business start-up costs. 

See the GOV.UK website for more information on the New Enterprise Allowance.

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How do I join a scheme?

Contact your local Jobcentre Plus (link opens in a new window) or Jobs and Benefits office in Northern Ireland (link opens in a new window) to join one of these schemes.

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Extended payment

You may be able to get Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support (depending where you live) paid at the same rate for the first four weeks of your new work arrangements when you come off certain out-of-work benefits.

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Further information

Last updated: 4 April 2014

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