How many hours can I study and still claim JSA?

I'm currently studying and I'm also looking for a job. What is the maximum amount of hours I’m allowed to study for and claim Jobseeker's Allowance?

Most full-time students in higher education can’t claim JSA during term-time or holidays. If you’re wondering, ‘What benefits can I claim as a student?,’ Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) isn’t the most obvious choice.

What benefits can you claim as a student?

Lone parents can claim JSA during the summer holidays, as can someone whose partner is also a full-time student if one or both of you is responsible for a child. However, you must be ‘available for and actively seeking work’.

Showing you are available for and actively seeking work is also the key if you’re already on JSA and you become a part-time student. In some cases this might be allowed, but we can’t say for sure.
Whether or not you’re classed as a full-time student depends on your age, the level of course you’re taking, where in the UK you live, and who funds the course.

If you’re aged between 16 and 20 and in ‘relevant education’ (generally this means you are studying for qualifications up to A-level), ‘full-time’ means 12 or more hours of study a week.

If you have over 16 hours a week of teaching time and your course is funded by the Education Funding Agency, the Chief Executive for Skills Funding, the Welsh Assembly Government or Scottish ministers, then it will also be classed as full-time.

There is no set hours limit for other courses, so the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Local Authority deciding your benefit claim will make their own decision. They will look at how the course is defined by the college, but you can challenge this if you disagree.

There’s nothing to stop you taking a part-time job while studying, in which case you don’t need to register with Jobcentre Plus.

If you need further advice, contact the Students Services at your college or university. You can also find out more by contacting Jobcentre Plus.

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