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Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) sanctions - How long will a Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) sanction last?

If you are claiming Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and do not follow the terms of your Jobseeker's Agreement, you may have your benefit reduced or stopped for a set period of time, this is known as a sanction.

How long will a Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) sanction last?

There are three levels of sanctions which last for set periods of time depending on what you may have failed to do.

Lower level

The lower level of sanction applies if you are asked to do something that will improve your chances of finding or preparing for work and you don't do it. This includes things like:

  • Losing a place on a training scheme through misconduct

  • Failing to attend or giving up a place on a training scheme

  • Failing to attend an interview at Jobcentre Plus

  • Failing to carry out part of your jobseeker's agreement.

A lower level sanction will last for:

  • Four weeks for the first failure

  • 13 weeks for any further failures within 52 weeks of the last failure. 

Intermediate level

The intermediate level of sanction may apply if you reclaim JSA after your previous JSA award has been disallowed.

A JSA award can be disallowed if you (or your joint-claim partner) are found not to be available for, or actively seeking work.

If you go on to make another claim for JSA, it will only be allowed if you can show that you (or your joint-claim partner) are now available for and actively seeking work. 

An intermediate level sanction will last for:

  • Four weeks for a first failure

  • 13 weeks for any further failures within 52 weeks of the last failure.

Example from decision maker's guidance

“Johnny was entitled to JSA but his award came to an end when the decision maker (DM) decided that he was not available for employment and could not be treated as available. This was Johnny’s first ever claim for JSA... The DM decides that a four week reduction will need to be considered with any new award of JSA.”

Higher level

The higher level sanction may apply if, for example, you:

  • Leave a job voluntarily

  • Lose a job through misconduct

  • Fail to take up a job or mandatory work activity without a good reason.

A higher level sanction will last for:

  • 13 weeks for a first failure

  • 26 weeks for a second failure.

Updated: February 2020


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