I’m from Europe can I claim JSA?

I’ve just moved to England from Slovakia to find a job, but I haven’t found one yet. Are people from Europe allowed to claim Jobseeker’s allowance?

Jobseekers from the European Economic Area (EEA) need to wait three months until they can claim Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA). So it’s worth planning to make sure that you have enough money to get by during the first three months in case you don’t find any work – it’s hard at the moment.

Once the three months is up, you can make a claim for JSA here. You will need to be able to show that you intend to make the UK your home for the time being.

It’s worth noting that under new stricter rules, even after you’ve waited three months, getting JSA won’t entitle you to help with your rent. You may be entitled to some help if you’re working (including self-employment) and on a low income though.

You can claim JSA for six months, at which point you have to pass a test to show that you have a genuine prospect of finding work. This test is decided on a case-by-case basis. If you pass then you can get the six months extended, if you fail you’ll stop getting JSA.

If you need help with claiming benefits or any other advice on surviving with no money, you can contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB). It would be a good idea to look at this page on what to take with you before you go and see them. They also have a lot of benefits information in their Adviceguide.

As you can see, getting JSA is quite tough, so anything you can do to find work as soon as possible would be worth looking into. The Mix’s “Getting a job” section explains what you can do to find employment. The National Careers Service provides careers advice and can help you put together and work through an action plan. You can call them on them on freephone 0800 100 900 between 8am and 10pm seven days a week, as well as webchat, email and text.

Next Steps

  • Use the Turn2Us calculator to work out what benefits and grants you're entitled to, or call their helpline on 0808 802 2000
  • Chat about this subject on our Discussion Boards.