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Hardship Payments - Jobseeker’s Allowance - hardship payments

Hardship payments are reduced-rate payments of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit (UC) that are made in limited circumstances, including if you have been sanctioned.

Jobseeker’s Allowance - hardship payments

Only people who would usually get income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance can get a hardship payment.

You may be able to get hardship payments of income-based jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) if your JSA is being paid at a reduced (or nil) rate.

If you are getting contribution-based JSA you may also be able to make a claim for hardship payments in limited circumstances. If you are in this position you should seek advice.

You cannot usually qualify for hardship payments until you are 18. However, if you are 16 or 17, you can qualify in certain circumstances.

If you are 16 or 17 and have been sanctioned, you do not need to claim hardship payments because you continue to get income-based JSA, although at a reduced rate.

You can qualify for hardship payments of income-based JSA in a number of situations:

  • At the start of your claim if you are waiting for a decision about whether you (or your partner) satisfy the jobseeking conditions.
  • If you are in a vulnerable group and the DWP has decided that you (or your partner) do not satisfy the jobseeking conditions.​ You may be in a vulnerable group if you:
    • are pregnant or responsible for a child
    • qualify for a disability premium
    • have a chronic medical condition
    • care for someone (claiming a qualifying disability benefit)
    • are 16-17 years old and you can claim income-based JSA
    • are under 21 and have been in local authority care in the last three years
  • When your JSA is suspended because there is doubt about whether you (or your partner) are meeting jobseeking conditions.
  • When your JSA is reduced because of a sanction

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