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

Jobseeker's Allowance can be stopped or reduced if you don't follow your Jobseeker's agreement.

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

There are three levels of sanctions for Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA), 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 on income-based Jobseeker's Allowance will last for:

  • Four weeks for the first failure

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

A lower level sanction on New Style/Contributory Jobseeker's Allowance will last for:

  • Seven days plus the number of days it takes you to do whatever you failed to do, as long as this is your first sanction in the past year, or
  • Up to 28 days plus the number of days it takes you to do whatever you failed to do, if you have been sanctioned in the past year.

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: January 2022


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