Other help is available for unemployed people looking for work or who have found work but need assistance to start.
Employment on Trial
Under the Employment on Trial scheme, if you are a previously unemployed person, you can try out a job without risking losing benefit if you leave, provided that you leave the job voluntarily and do not lose the job because of your misconduct. If you refuse to take a suitable job, your Jobseeker’s Allowance may be affected.
Your Jobseeker’s Allowance will not be affected if:
- you had done no work at all for at least 13 weeks immediately before you started employment (you need not have claimed benefit) and not been in full-time education; and
- you worked at least 16 hours a week in the job concerned; and
- you left the job after the end of four weeks (that is, you must have started the fifth week of work) but no later than the end of the 12th week (excluding days of sickness, holidays, jury service, self-employment and any weeks when you were not working).
You will not qualify for Employment on Trial, even if signing on as unemployed, if you worked part-time for any of the days in the 13-week unemployment period. There are exemptions for work done for the emergency services.
The following count towards the 13-week qualifying period:
- periods of vocational training, such as Work Based Learning for Adults
- time spent on Work Based Training for Young People, provided the person was a trainee and not an employee
- time when you received an Employment Rehabilitation Allowance
- time spent on part-time study/education
- periods of sickness when you received either statutory sick pay, incapacity benefit or statutory maternity pay.
If you want to return to or claim benefits after Employment on Trial, check that you satisfy all the conditions before you leave the job.
Job Grant is a single tax-free payment to encourage someone who has been unemployed to consider and accept work that they might otherwise have been unable to consider because of the costs of going back to work. Job grant is £100 for single people and couples without children and £250 for lone parents and couples with children.
A Job Grant is intended to cover the oneoff costs of returning to work. It may be spent in any way you decide but will normally go towards, for example, new clothes or transport.
To be eligible, you must have been in receipt of benefit for the previous 26 weeks. The job must also meet certain conditions.
To get a Job Grant, you must have been getting one of the following benefits or a combination of any of them, for 26 weeks without a break:
- Income Support
- Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Incapacity Benefit
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Severe Disablement Allowance.
Some other people getting allowances from Jobcentre Plus may also be able to get a Job Grant. Check with your local Jobcentre Plus office to make sure.
To be eligible for a Job Grant, the job you are taking must:
- be for 16 hours a weeks or more
- be likely to last for at least five weeks
- be a new job, an increase in hours of an existing job (to bring it over 16 hours), or a combination of jobs.
You will also be eligible for a Job Grant if you are becoming self-employed and the work you are taking on meets the above conditions.
You may be able to get a Job Grant if your partner starts work for 24 hours a week or more, and this ends your Income Support or income-based Jobseeker's Allowance.
A Job Grant is paid automatically when your benefit claim is closed. However, you must let your Jobcentre Plus office know within 21 days of starting a new job or increasing your working hours.
Flexible Support Fund
If you are a customer of Jobcentre Plus, you may be able to get a payment from the Flexible Support Fund to cover any expenses you run up while taking up work or training. However, it's up to your local Jobcentre Plus to decide whether they will meet these costs, you don't have a right to claim these expenses.
You may be eligible for help from the Fund if you are not in the Work Programme. The Work Programme is a government scheme for getting people into work.
To find out what help you're likely to get, ask your Jobcentre Plus personal adviser.
If you're claiming Incapacity Benefit, Income Support because of incapacity or Employment and Support Allowance and you take a job where you're working for at least 16 hours a week, you may be able to get a return-to-work credit worth £40 a week. You only get this if your earnings are less than £15,000 a year and your job is expected to last at least five weeks. Ask at your local Jobcentre Plus office for more details.
If you have been unemployed and getting Jobseeker's Allowance for 13 weeks or more, and you set up as self-employed working at least 16 hours a week, you may be able to get a self-employment credit worth £50 a week. You can only get it if you stop claiming Jobseeker's Allowance and expect your work to last at least 5 weeks. Ask at your local Jobcentre Plus office for more details.
If you're lone parent claiming Income Support or Jobseeker's Allowance and you take a job where you're working at least 16 hours a week, you may be able to get an in-work credit worth £40 a week, or £60 if you live in London. In some parts of the country, an in-work credit is available to all parents responsible for a child under 16, not just lone parents. You can get it for up to 52 weeks. Ask your local Jobcentre Plus office for more details.
In-work Emergency Discretion Fund
Single parents who come off benefits and go into work may need money to cope with unexpected financial problems which could stop them carrying on with their job. If you're in this situation, you could apply to the In-work Emergency Discretion Fund. In some areas, all parents qualify. You must have a dependent child living in your household and you must be working for at least 16 hours a week. Your job must be expected to last for at least 26 weeks and you must have been in the job for less than 26 weeks. You could get a payment of up to £300. This fund only makes discretionary payments and your Jobcentre Plus personal adviser makes the decision about whether you should get the money. Ask your local Jobcentre Plus office for more details.
Careers Helpline for Young People (England only for people aged 13 - 19)
You can get advice and information on careers, work and learning from the Careers Helpline for Young People if you are a young person aged 13 to 19. The Helpline advisers provide one-to-one confidential information and advice, by telephone, text message, email and webchat between 8.00am and 10.00pm seven days a week. You can find contact details on the Directgov website at www.direct.gov.uk.
University for Industry (UFI) (for people aged 19 or over)
UFI promotes training among businesses and individuals in occupational sectors where there is a shortage of skills, and encourages adults with low literacy or numeracy skills into training to improve these skills.
Businesses which join the UFI corporate membership scheme qualify for financial help from the UFI so that they can provide training for their staff. UFI will not provide training directly to business or individuals but will direct people to existing training available or encourage the creation of new training provision.
If you are interested in accessing training through the UFI, contact your local Jobcentre Plus office or the learndirect website at: www.learndirect.co.uk.
Individual Learning Accounts Scotland
Individual Learning Accounts Scotland (ILA Scotland) is a Scottish Government scheme for anyone aged 16 or over who lives in Scotland. If you earn £22,000 a year or less or are on benefits, you can apply for an ILA account that will give you up to £200 a year towards a wide range of courses from learning providers throughout Scotland.
If you are on a low income or benefits and want to study part-time at college or university, you may be able to get an award of up to £500 a year.
You can get more information about the ILA Scotland scheme from the ILA Scotland website at: www.ilascotland.org.uk or on freephone 0808 100 1090.
The government website GOV.UK, provides lots of information for people looking for work, including an online job search at www.direct.gov.uk.
You can download factsheets which cover how to write a CV, letters and application forms and preparing for an interview.
Work in Europe
Job vacancies and information on living and working conditions across Europe are available on the EURES website at www.ec.europa.eu.
EURES stands for the European Employment Services organisation, which is an organisation of EU government bodies.
Other financial help
You may be entitled to other financial help as a result of starting work and coming off benefits, for example:
- extended payment of Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit
- mortgage interest run-on payments, if you have been getting certain means-tested benefits
- Working Tax Credit.
For more information on any of these you should consult an experienced adviser, for example, a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by email, click on nearest CAB.
Citizens Advice Bureau