BENEFITS EXPERT: What happens after JSA ends?

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Earlier this year my husband was made redundant after 27 years with the same company. He has been told his Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) will run out after Christmas and we wonder if there is anything else we can claim. We are both 61 and I earn £186 a week. We own our house and pay full Council Tax.

Your husband has been receiving JSA based upon his National Insurance Contributions. This type of JSA has a standard rate of £73.10 a week and is largely unaffected by a person’s other financial circumstances.  

 However, after six month’s unemployment a person can only receive JSA based upon income. This includes not only their income and savings but those of their partner as well.

 Most couples can only receive JSA on this basis if their income is below £114.85 a week. As all of your earnings apart from £10 count as income, you will have too much coming in to qualify.

 Others who will not qualify for Income-based JSA include those with partners working 24 hours a week or more and those with capital over £16,000.

 Working age people with an income too high to qualify for Income–based JSA may be eligible for some help with their Council Tax through their council’s Council Tax Reduction Scheme. Their capital will also be taken into account and they will not qualify if it is above a certain level.

 As each council’s scheme has its own rules, it would be best to check with yours to find out what their capital limit is.

My wife is 65 and has a life-time award of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) for both Care and Mobility. I understand that because of the Government’s new rules on disability benefits she might lose all or part of her benefit.

 But I have also read that the changes will only apply to people of ‘working age’.  

As she has been retired since she was 60 will these rules apply to her or can she keep her DLA?

People who are receiving Disability Living Allowance (DLA) will have to be tested for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which replaces it, unless they reached the age of 65 by 8 April 2013.

 As your wife would have been under 65 on that date she will have to be tested for PIP. It is expected that people in your wife’s situation will be tested sometime before late 2017.

I am 65 and my wife is 60. Our pensions are equivalent to £287 a week. Do we qualify for anything?

You appear to be entitled to Council Tax Benefit that would reduce your Council Tax to about £400 a year.