Benefits Expert: Will savings affect my JSA claim?

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If I lose my job will my savings prevent me from claiming benefit?

If you had been paying National Insurance (NI) in recent years you would probably qualify for Contribution-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

 This type of JSA is payable for six months and is not affected by savings. The other type of JSA is based upon income and is payable after six months, or from the start of unemployment if the person has not paid the right NI contributions. It is reduced where savings are over £6,000 and not payable at all if they are over £16,000.

I am a working woman who will be 60 in September next year. When will I qualify for my State Pension and is there anything I can claim for being 60?

The State Pension age for both men and women will rise to 66 from the autumn of 2020.

 So that is how old you will have to be before you can draw your State Pension.

 When you reach 60 you will be entitled to free prescriptions but I am afraid that is all. If you carry on working you might want to note that, at 60, you can be considered for Working Tax Credit if you work 16 hours a week instead of the 30 hours that might normally apply.

If you work on after reaching pension age do you and your employer have to pay National Insurance?

People stop paying National Insurance once they reach State Pension age. However, the employer must pay their share in respect of employees regardless of how old they are.

My son is 19 and I have been receiving benefits for him while he has been at college. He wants to go on a different full-time course in September for which he will have to pay. He has been told, however, that if he claims JSA the course will be free. Is this right?

A person undergoing full-time education cannot claim JSA. Part-time students may qualify for JSA provided they are actively seeking work and are prepared to take a job that the Jobcentre offers them. This aside, I am afraid there are no other social security benefits that are available to able-bodied students who have no children.

How much can my 82 year old mother have in the bank without it affecting her benefits?

It depends upon what benefits she is receiving. Savings do not affect State Pension or disability benefits like Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance. For someone of your mother’s age, savings over £10,000 will affect Pension Credit, Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit.