Money Wellness
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What benefits can you get when you lose your job?

What benefits you can get when you lose your job depends on a number of things:

  • how you left your job
  • how much national insurance you’ve paid
  • how long you were working for
  • your household situation

If you were sacked

If you lost your job because of misconduct, or you left without a good reason, you might have to wait before you can get Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit. Your Jobcentre Plus work coach can stop your benefit being paid for a certain number of weeks. This is known as applying a sanction to your benefit and it’s down to your work coach how long the sanction lasts.

If you were made redundant

If you’ve been made redundant, you will probably be able to get statutory redundancy pay if:

  • you were an employee
  • you’ve paid enough national insurance
  • you worked for your employer for at least two years

Your employer may also pay you contractual redundancy. Check your employment contact to find out.

New style jobseeker’s allowance

Providing you’ve paid enough class 1 national insurance during the last two full tax years, you might be able to claim new style jobseeker’s allowance. This is paid for up to six months and your partner’s income won’t be taken into account.

Universal credit

To get help with housing costs or raising children, you’ll need to apply for universal credit as well. How much you get is based on your household income, so your partner’s income will be taken into account.

If you pay rent, you may be able to get help with this from the housing costs element of universal credit.

If you were getting housing benefit when you lost your job, this may count as a change of circumstance meaning you'll have to claim universal credit instead. If you qualify for universal credit, you’ll get housing benefit for two weeks after sending in your universal credit claim before it stops.

Help with your mortgage interest payments

If you own your home, you might be able to get a government loan to help with the interest on your mortgage. Find out more in our Support for Mortgage Interest guide.

Tax credits

If you were getting child tax credit or working tax credit when you lost your job, you may be able to make a new claim. But losing your job may count as a change of circumstance and you may need to apply for universal credit instead.

If you were getting tax credits and you apply for universal credit, you’ll need to tell the Tax Credit Office within 30 days. You can ring the helpline on 0345 300 3900.

Help with council tax

When you’re on a low income or claiming benefits, you may also qualify to a council tax reduction. The amount you pay can be reduced by as much as 100%.

Check if you can get a reduction on the government’s website.

If you get a new job

If you go back to work, you need to let Jobcentre Plus (your Jobs & Benefits office in Northern Ireland) know. You must also inform HMRC or you could be fined.

If your income is still low, you may still qualify for certain benefits such as working tax credit or housing benefit.

If you’re on universal credit, the amount you get may go down gradually until your income increases to the point you’re no longer entitled to it.

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