Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

How to claim Jobseekers Allowance without being capable of work!

with 10 comments

It is a well established myth that you must be capable of working to claim Jobseekers Allowance (JSA).

This is not true, and has not been so since the Welfare Reform Act 2007. Anyone who is or has claimed Employment and Support Allowance might want to pay close attention to this blog article.

Perhaps a conspiracy the main Government online law archive is out of date. The Jobseekers Act 1995 is one of the largely outdated piece of legislation on the entire website. It is indeed a tough job with Social Security laws changing every month but some progress has to be made surely?

Every jobseeker has the following on their bedroom wall and can recite it with their eyes closed writing it down in a straitjacket:-

The jobseeker’s allowance.

(1) An allowance, to be known as a jobseeker’s allowance, shall be payable in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

(2) Subject to the provisions of this Act, a claimant is entitled to a jobseeker’s allowance if he—

(a) is available for employment;

(b) has entered into a jobseeker’s agreement which remains in force;

(c) is actively seeking employment;

[F1  (d) satisfies the conditions set out in section 2;  ]

(e) is not engaged in remunerative work;

(f) is capable of work;

(g) is not receiving relevant education;

(h) is under pensionable age; and

(i) is in Great Britain.

This is the version of the law on the legislation.gov.uk website, the only remaining website from multiple sites which held laws online, that the Work Programme Network has exposed as extremely out of date.

We know that many ESA claimants past and present are looking to (2)(f) puzzled as to why they are forced on to Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) when the law says you cannot. Jobseekers are equally as puzzled when they cannot find the Section 17A (work for your benefit schemes etc.) either.

Indeed, (2)(f) hasn’t read “is capable of work” for some time now. The Welfare Reform Act 2007 took care of that. It now reads “does not have limited capability for work“. Phrase meaning similar but significantly changed. It isn’t the only change – although we wont go through every single one – Section 3 (1)(b) has also been modified, to read “is not entitled to income support, state pension credit or income-related employment and support allowance“.

Can of worms?

Has the Government opened a can of worms?  Or have they done enough to wriggle free?

Atos Origin has been declaring people fit for work. Thus the original (2)(f) of Section 1 of the Jobseekers Act 1995 was sufficient although if Atos Origin’s findings were in dispute where a person was deemed unable to work such person couldn’t claim Jobseekers Allowance. It has also changed from a positive charged condition to a negatively charged condition. This new phrase allows confusion between terminology, however Section 3 (1)(b) strengthens it so if a person was deemed not entitled for ESA then they can claim JSA.

It is clear that using a TV remote doesn’t make someone “capable of work”. But the changed definition?

The difference

Not only is it more difficult to determine a negative condition than a positive condition, probably the least insignificant words are the most significant. Notice of  in  the original? It is now for in the modification!

When analysing the preposition usage, to summarise simply, the changes:

  • is capable of work” directly implied the person must be able to perform labour and thus be employed.
  • does not have limited capability for work” implies the person must not be incapable of preparation and motivation to be employed as a worker, regardless if he or she is capable of work or of the probability that he or she could ever secure employment.

This probably the BIGGEST change to the Jobseekers Act 1995.

Inability to work

There is no limitation for a disabled person or one that is workshy from Jobseekers Allowance, although the issue I have is, if a person needs not be capable of work, one can certainly seek employment (be a jobseeker) but does such person meet the Available for Work and Actively Seeking Employment criteria, as regardless if the person is keen to look for work surely this has to be with intent of securing employment  and without default if the employer sees such person as unemployable?

Probably Yes, however, currently people are sanctioned under these criteria points. I am surprised that Jobcentre Plus hasn’t been using Section 1 (2)(f) of the Jobseekers Act 1995 for sanctioning, although I suppose it is yet to be written into the Jobseekers Allowance Regulations 1996.

Has anyone been denied Jobseekers Allowance as Jobcentre Plus judge such a person not work ready?


10 Responses

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  1. Good work, Work Programme. But does this not put disabled persons in the situation where a denial of disabilities benefits entitles them to claim but by virtue of their disability be deemed to be not meeting the “actively seeking work” requirements of JSA which could potentially leave them with no income?

    Bean Counter

    May 16, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    • Well my understanding is, with a disability or not, of any extent, a person is actively seeking employment if s/he does 3 steps per week to look for work.

      They have always tasked this jobseeking definition as more than claimant applies for a job… but more to include the intent of accepting any final job offers and to undertake the BEST opportunity to secure employment (thus anyone doing deliberately bad in an application/interview would be treated as not ASE although applying would be them seeking work in an minor extent)

      So potentially YES, Jobcentre Plus wouldnt surprise me if they did this, however, it would be a conflict in law between Section 1 (2)(c) and (2)(f) of the Jobseekers Act 1995, as (2)(f) allows anyone executing the motivational preparation for work to their best ability to claim.

      I think someone could argue a defence under such section for many sanctions at current.

      Work Programme

      May 17, 2011 at 8:29 am

    • A really excellent post Worky.

      The whole thing about actively seeking work has become harder and harder when the Evening Star only has a handful of jobs advertised, and ditto for all the other sites offering employment in Ipswich and Suffolk.

      Andrew Coates

      May 17, 2011 at 9:33 am

    • If you are no longer useful to the Government, that is to say if you no longer pay taxes and are a financial drain, the Government would just as soon see you DEAD!

      They Want You Dead

      May 17, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      • 🙂

        The Grim Reaper

        May 18, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    • Having read through that lot WP, I am sure that should a suicidal person be subjected to that load of self protective, procedural waffle (right out in the open plan space that is JC+, infront of other people, delivered with the same disdain shown to people by some JC+ staff) the suicidal person is going to be out of the door within seconds and carrying out their plan to die immediately.
      Thanks for posting the info 🙂


      May 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

  2. Serco’s interactive delivery model for the work programme, where you may view individual journeys for Colin, Floyd, Nomsa and Yavini…


    Crystal Balls

    May 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

  3. […] Be capable of being motivated for work regardless if unable to work for whatever reason […]

  4. would you be capable of working if you are on the waiting list for a thumb fusion operation,

    trisha chambers

    July 25, 2011 at 11:00 am

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