Housing Systems: Combating poverty and sustaining tenancies.
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'New-Style' ESA and JSA

Did you know that there are now two types of JSA / ESA based on NI contributions?

  • 'Old-Style' Contribution Based JSA / Contributory ESA
  • 'New-Style' JSA / ESA.

Which 'type' of JSA / ESA a claimant is receiving can be quite confusing - but is crucial to understanding what 'top-up' ie means tested benefits the claimant is able to claim if they need extra financial help.

'Old-Style' Contribution Based JSA / Contributory ESA can be topped up by Income-Based JSA/ ESA instead of Universal Credit. This is because to get the 'top-up' the claimant does not need to make a new claim but instead can request that their existing JSA/ESA be reviewed.
(However, depending on their circumstances they will probably not be able to make a new claim for any of the other legacy benefits so may need to claim UC anyway).

'New-Style'JSA / ESA can only be topped up by Universal Credit.

So how do I know what 'type' of JSA / ESA a claimant is getting?

If they do not know, or if the the notifications they have received do not make it clear, then the best bet is to contact the JSA / ESA Dept to ask.


Why would some claimants be getting 'Old-Style' whilst others are getting 'New-Style'?

Universal Credit is replacing Income-Based JSA and Income-Related ESA - so the Regulations that govern those benefits are to be abolished. But those Regulations also govern the 'Old style' Contribution-Based JSA and Contributory ESA - which UC is not replacing.

So the government decided to introduce a whole new set of Regulations to cover JSA / ESA awards based on NI contributions - and called any award made under these new Regulations 'New-Style'.


So when did these new Regulations take effect?

This is where the confusion starts because they were introduced across the UK on different dates, and for different claimants.

They have applied across the UK from January 2019, but where a claim was made before that date you'll need to consider......

Whether the claim for JSA / ESA based on NI contributions was made after an area had gone onto the 'Full' (Digital) UC service. If it was, then generally that claim will have been for 'New-Style' JSA / ESA. The only exceptions will be where the claimant would not have been able to make a new claim for UC because they failed one of the UC gateways eg having three or more children. In these cases the claimant would have been award 'Old-Style' JSA / ESA.

Was the claimant still living in a 'Live' (Gateway) area when they made their new claim based on NI contributions - if they were then they would have been awarded 'Old-Style' Contribution-Based JSA and Contributory ESA, and these can (still) be topped up by Income-Based JSA and Income-Related ESA respectively.

However, before new claims in the 'Live' (Gateway) areas were closed in January 2018, those jobseeking claimants who passed the UC 'Gateway conditions' - whether or not claiming UC at the same time - were awarded 'New-Style' JSA and are therefore classed as coming under the UC system and if they require a top-up would need to claim UC.

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