Hardship Payments

If your benefits have not been paid you could apply for a hardship payment, which applies to Job Seekers Allowance, Employment And Support Allowance and Universal Credit. You must be able to prove you are facing financial hardship.

Unless you are classed as being in a “vulnerable grouping” you will not receive a hardship payment for the first two weeks after you submit a claim.

The money does not have to be repaid, with the exception of payments made via Universal Credit.

Basic eligibility (JSA)

JSA Hardship payments are normally only given to those who are receiving income based JSA, however, in specific cases you MAY be able to get a hardship payment if you are receiving contribution-based JSA.

Payments are also only normally paid to those aged 18 or over, although again, there maybe special circumstances which allow 16 and 17 year olds to claim.

Below are some typical scenarios where hardship payments are awarded to those claiming income-based JSA..

  • Those who are waiting for confirmation that they meet the “job seeking” requirements to receive JSA
  • Those who have had their JSA claim suspended due to uncertainties over meeting the requirements
  • Those who have been sanctioned and had their payment reduced
  • If you are considered belonging to a vulnerable group and you don’t meet the job seeking requirements

These vulnerable groups include…

  • Those looking after children
  • Those who qualify for disability premium
  • Those with a serious medical condition
  • Carer’s (who get certain benefits)
  • Those in local authority care who are under 21
  • Those under 18 and on income-based JSA

How much will I get? (JSA)

This will depend on your individual needs, there is no mandatory amount that has to be awarded.

How do I apply? (JSA)

You should make an appointment with your local JobCentre Plus and ask to complete a JSA/ESA10JP form.

You need to explain to the adviser why you feel you should be awarded a hardship payment, and detail your financial hardship. You should tell them about any relevant medical, health or disability needs that have impacted upon your financial well being. The adviser will need to make an assessment as to whether there is a substantial risk to you (or you and your partner/family) not being able to afford basic items such as clothing or food.

Basic eligibility (ESA)

You normally have to be receiving income-based ESA in order to get a hardship payment, although there are some circumstances whereby those claiming contribution-based ESA can also make a claim.

Typically those claiming income-based JSA can get a hardship payment if…

  • The person has been sanctioned
  • The person has committed an offence relating to a benefit claim
  • The person can prove their child would suffer if the hardship payment was not made

How much will I get? (ESA)

This is normally 60% of the basic ESA amount which is £73.10 which equates to £43.85 p/w. You can also receive any component parts of your ESA claim (housing/disability/ or premiums) in conjunction with a hardship payment, despite any sanctions.

ESA Hardship payments do not have to be repaid.

How do I apply? (ESA)

Contact your local JobCentre Plus and complete an JSA/ESA10JP form. You need to explain why you should be warded the hardship payment.

Basic eligibility (UC)

These are available to those people who have had their Universal Credit payment lowered to a reduced rate. However, unlike JSA and ESA hardship payments the money must be paid back. You must be able to prove hardship and agree in writing that the money will have to be repaid. You must also prove you met all the work related conditions in the seven days preceding the hardship payment claim.

Hardship payments for those on Universal Credit are typically paid to…

  • Those who have been sanctioned
  • Those who have committed a benefit related office
  • Those who have committed lower level sanctions but have agreed to compliance conditions

Remember you must be able to prove you cannot afford basic purchases like food or clothing AND you have explored all other avenues such as speaking to charities.

How much will I get? (UC)

This is paid at an approximate daily rate of 60% of your sanction. The total amount you will get is your calculated daily rate multiplied by the number of days your sanction is due to last.

How do I apply? (UC)

You should make an appointment at your local JobCentre Plus or call 0800 328 5644 (full digital service areas) / 0800 328 9344 (live service areas)