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Looking ahead to when you finish uni

By Emma
Looking ahead to when you finish uni

Get what you are entitled to - Jobseekers allowance

It seems like ages until you graduate, but trust me it is not. The years will fly by. When you finish there is a big chance that you may find yourself without an income in June - as the magic student loan instalments stop!

Not to panic. If you find yourself without a job (of any kind), which in this delightful economic climate is a fate that graduates have faced for the past two years, then there is help out there for you.

No one will tell you but you can sign on to jobseekers allowance as soon as term finishes. So if you finish on the Friday, you can be at the Jobcentre Plus getting the ball rolling on getting some money on Monday. You can also back track money for up to three weeks although this takes more paper work so it is best to ‘sign on’ as soon as possible.

Signing on for the ‘dole’ has quite a negative image but it really isn’t a cop out. Remember it is now called job seekers allowance and we are sure you will be trying hard to get a job. Usually it can take three months find employment and in this climate it could be longer. Getting up to £50 a week is a considerable financial help which stops you from caning that overdraft (even more). So make sure you do it! 

How do you claim for Jobseekers allowance?

Well you have to be aged between 18 and state pension age, be capable of work and be actively seeking work. You can also claim if you are working less than 16 hours a week. So if you work in a local pub for a few hours a week then you will still be eligible to claim.

You can apply online at direct.gov.uk or at your local Jobcentre Plus, where you will be asked to prove what you have been doing to secure a job. The Directgov website is full of information on which tax credits and benefits you are entitled to, as well as useful employment information.

There are two types of allowance: Contribution-based and Income-based. If you have contributed to National Insurance (NI) in the previous two years then you will qualify for contribution-based. If you haven’t worked then you may qualify for Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance. Income-based is for when you have not paid enough NI contributions and is based on your income and savings.

Regardless of which allowance you are on, if you are aged between 16-24 you will receive a maximum of £50.95 per week. You will receive less if you have over £6000 in savings and if you have £16000 you won’t qualify. You will have an appointment at the centre and then your form will be processed which can take a few weeks.

If you qualify you will then have to go to the Jobcentre Plus every two weeks to show what you have been doing to look for a job to qualify for the payment. This includes searching online, reading newspapers, writing a CV and applying for jobs. You can easily do that!

Jobseeker’s allowance is paid into your bank or building society account. You must inform Jobcentre Plus if your circumstances change, such as: Moving house, starting work or another University course, becoming ill or going into hospital, gong on holiday in the UK or abroad, coming into some cash (such as inheritance). In many cases you’ll still be able to claim, however if you don’t let them know you could lose your benefit.

You have to remember that finishing Uni is a stressful time and your final term is so busy that you often don’t have time to apply for loads of jobs. If you find yourself without a job then there is no shame in applying for Jobseeker’s allowance. If you are actively seeking work then why not get paid for it!

By Victoria Civil

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