Should we go for New style JSA or Universal Credit?

Hi All,

Unfortunately, my wife and I are both out of work - my wife's work contract ended a few months ago and I was made redundant around the same time. We made the mistake of not applying for JSA/UC earlier as I thought I'd be able to land something quickly & I wasn't sure if I'd be eligible and now we can't back date our JSA claim.

We have now both applied for JSA and UC - I had my first JSA appointment today & the advisor mentioned that I can claim for both, but then we would get our UC amount reduced. 

My previous role was as a QA Engineer and finding work in this field is tough and since I was made redundant, the market has been brutal.

We have also a child (turning 2 years on the 17th Feb) and have savings less than £5000 in both of our accounts due to other large expenses incurred.

Are we better off going for JSA or just going for UC? 

We own our own flat and have been paying the monthly mortgage plus service charge/ground rent twice a year - I was told at my JSA appointment, that we'd be eligible for 'support for Mortgage Interest (SMI)' under UC, but this would only be paid 9 months after. 

How can get the 
SMI paid earlier to us? Is there another way? As our savings are short

Another question, What other benefits should we be looking to claim for?


  • Spoonie_Turtle
    Spoonie_Turtle Posts: 8,146
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    edited 8 February at 3:34PM
    As you have a child, your UC entitlement will be higher than JSA.  So definitely claim UC.

    You can claim JSA alongside it for 6 months (the time limit for JSA regardless of whether you claim anything else) and it will be deducted from your UC in full.  It won't make you financially better off but you might like the fortnightly payments and it gives class 1 NI credits whereas UC gives class 3.  See what each of those are for here:

    So it's entirely up to you whether you claim both or only UC.

    SMI is available after 3 months.  It used to be 9 months with zero earnings, but now earnings are not taken into account other than being low enough to qualify for the benefit.
    Edit: you may also be able to get help for ground rent and service charges through UC from the start, via the housing costs element.  I don't know if you can have that along with SMI or not, others here will know more about it.
  • HillStreetBlues
    HillStreetBlues Posts: 3,074
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    Edit: you may also be able to get help for ground rent and service charges through UC from the start, via the housing costs element.
    UC doesn't allow for ground rent.
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