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Dismissal and benefits

What can a dismissed worker claim

If you have been dismissed from your job it will affect the benefits you claim. You may be able to get contribution-based or income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Housing Benefit, or Council Tax Reduction but there are special rules about how these will be paid following your dismissal.

You will not usually be able to claim Income Support following a dismissal as you will have to be available for work. However, check to see if you or your partner could qualify. If either of you are over 60 you may be able to get Pension Credit. If you get Income Support or Pension Credit, you will not need to be available for work.

For more information about your rights when you have been dismissed from your job, see Dismissal.

For information about jobseeker’s allowance, see Benefits for people looking for work.

For information about income support, see Help for people on a low income – Income Support.

For information about Pension Credit, see Benefits for older people.

If you are a worker who has been dismissed from a job where you were working less than 16 hours a week, the rules are different. You should consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by e-mail, click on nearest CAB.

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Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you were dismissed for misconduct, contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) may not be paid for 13 weeks and in some cases for longer. Misconduct means that, in your employer’s opinion, you did something wrong. You can appeal against the 13-week sanction.

Compensation for unfair dismissal may cover a period in which you have been getting contribution-based JSA. If this happens, the JSA may have to be paid back out of the compensation money. If compensation has already been paid when you claim JSA, it may prevent you receiving it for a period.

For more information about your rights when you have been dismissed from your job, see Dismissal.

The rules about contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and payments at the end of a job are complicated. You should consult an experienced adviser, for example, a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by e-mail, click on nearest CAB.

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Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance

If you are dismissed for misconduct, your income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) may not be paid for 13 weeks and in some cases for longer. This is called a sanction. You can appeal against the sanction, or may be able to claim a hardship payment.

Compensation for unfair dismissal may cover a period in which you have been getting income-based JSA. If this happens, the JSA may have to be paid back out of compensation money. If compensation has already been paid when you claim JSA, it may prevent you receiving it for a period.

For more information about your rights when you have been dismissed from your job, see Dismissal.

The rules about income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance and payments at the end of a job are very complicated. You should consult an experienced adviser, for example, a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by e-mail, click on nearest CAB.

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Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction

When working out entitlement to Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction, most final payments when you leave work are disregarded unless you're already getting Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction when you are dismissed.

For information about Housing Benefit, see Help with your rent – Housing Benefit.

For information about Council Tax Reduction in England Wales and Scotland, see Council Tax Reduction – what you need to know.

For information about Housing Benefit for rates in Northern Ireland, see Help with your rates.

If you want to know the amount of Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction you can receive, you should consult an experienced adviser, for example, at a Citizens Advice Bureau. To search for details of your nearest CAB, including those that can give advice by e-mail, click on nearest CAB.

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Insolvency payments and benefits

If you are dismissed because your employer is insolvent, then you may get a payment from the Department for Business Innovations & Skills' redundancy payments service (RPS) to cover wages owed, pay in lieu of notice, and so on. If you also claim JSA, you will not be paid any benefit for the weeks covered by the insolvency payment. Or, if you have already had some JSA when the insolvency payment is due to be paid, the benefit will be deducted from the insolvency payment. If you had an insolvency payment and it comes to the end of the period in which you are entitled to JSA, you will have extra weeks added to your entitlement period to make up for the weeks of benefit you lost at the beginning of your claim.

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Citizens Advice

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