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Jobseeker's Allowance

What is it?

Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) is a benefit for people who are unemployed, who are available to take up full-time work immediately and who are actively seeking work.

It is a single allowance with 2 routes of entitlement:

  • Contribution based JSA – JSA(Cont)
  • Income based JSA – JSA(IB)

JSA(Cont) and JSA(IB)

Entitlement to JSA(Cont) is based on your National Insurance record. It is not means-tested.

JSA(IB) is an income-based benefit and is paid to you if either:

  • You are not entitled to JSA(Cont)
  • Your entitlement to JSA(Cont) has run out
  • The amount you need to live on is more than the amount of JSA(Cont) you get

You don’t have to have paid National Insurance contributions to qualify for JSA(IB).

Basic qualifying conditions

To qualify for JSA you must satisfy several conditions, as follows.

You must:

  • Be available for work
  • Be actively seeking work
  • Be capable of work
  • Enter into a Jobseeker's Agreement which remains in force
  • Be under state pension age
  • Be in the Isle of Man

You must not be in full-time education - that is guided learning of 16 hours or more a week.

You must not be in remunerative work – that is work of 16 hours or more a week – if you are self-employed, a share fisherman or a company director (note: this condition does not apply if you are an employee working for someone else).

You must also be living in the Isle of Man.

National Insurance contribution conditions for JSA(Cont)

As well as the above basic qualifying conditions, for JSA (Cont) you must also be able to meet the following conditions

First contribution condition

The first contribution condition is satisfied if, in either of the previous 2 tax years before you claim JSA, you have actually paid Class 1 contributions or share fisherman's/volunteer development worker's Class 2 contributions on earnings at the lower earnings limit for at least 26 weeks during that tax year.

Second contribution condition

The second contribution condition is satisfied if you have paid and/or been credited with Class 1 contributions of not less than 50 times the lower earnings limit in both the last 2 complete tax years before the benefit year in which your jobseeking period begins.


There are no National Insurance contribution conditions for JSA(IB). However, entitlement to JSA(IB) is means-tested.

To qualify for JSA(IB) you must also satisfy the Isle of Man (IOM) residential condition

You will satisfy the IOM residential condition if:

  • You were born in the IOM
  • You have been ordinarily resident in the IOM for a continuous period of at least 5 years: or
  • You have been ordinarily resident in the IOM for a number of periods which, when added together amount to at least 10 years

You can satisfy the IOM residential condition in other circumstances too, for example if you are married to or are a civil partner of a person who satisfies any of the above.

You will not qualify for JSA(IB) if your partner (if you have one) works for 24 hours or more a week in a self-employed capacity or as a share fisherman or a company director (note: this condition does not apply if your partner is an employee working for someone else).

The maximum amount of JSA(IB) which can be awarded to you is known as your 'applicable amount.' It is reduced by any reckonable income which you, your partner or any of your other dependants receive.

Your applicable amount is made up of the following elements:

  • Personal allowances: these go towards normal day to day living expenses such as food,  heating and lighting
  • Premiums: these extra amounts are only allowable in certain circumstances, for example if your partner cares for a severely disabled relative or is of state pension age
  • Housing costs: these go towards rent, rates, service charges or mortgage interest, etc

Work-focused conversations

If you are claiming JSA(IB) any partner you have can be required to take part in work-focused conversations as a condition for you retaining your full benefit.

Changes to JSA for share fishermen

Certain changes were made to the rules for share fishermen claiming JSA from 5 November 2017. These are explained in detail in the downloadable document entitled 'Information for share fishermen July 2017' opposite.

People aged 16/17 years

In general 16/17 year olds are only entitled to JSA(IB) if they are in a vulnerable group, for example lone parents and people with disabilities. However, certain young people are entitled to JSA(IB) if they would be at risk of suffering severe hardship.

How much JSA could I get and how am I paid JSA?

Please see Benefits Rates for further details.

You can collect your JSA in cash fortnightly at a Post Office using your MiCard.

JSA(Cont) can be paid for a maximum period of 6 months at a time. There is no limit to the period for which JSA(IB) can be paid, provided you continue to meet the qualifying conditions .

How and when should I apply?

You should claim as soon you think you qualify by calling into:

Jobseeker's Allowance Team

Ground Floor

Markwell House

Market Street

Douglas IM1 2RZ

Telephone:+44 1624 685126

Email:Send Email

or to the Ramsey district office.

More information

For more information about JSA please see the downloadable documents.

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