Skip to content Skip to footer

This advice applies to Northern Ireland. Change country

Jobseeker's Allowance and sanctions in Northern Ireland

Find out how your JSA can be affected if you are sanctioned.

Jobseeker's Allowance and sanctions

If you do not take up employment opportunities or follow up chances of work, or you fail to carry out a jobseeker’s direction, you may be sanctioned. This means that your Jobseeker's Allowance is reduced or stopped altogether for between one and 26 weeks. This could happen if you fail to apply for a job which is pointed out to you by the Jobcentre Plus office, or you do not take up a job which you have been offered. You can also be sanctioned because of the circumstances in which you left your last job, for example, if you left voluntarily or you were dismissed because of misconduct.

Sanctions can apply to training schemes and employment programmes as well as jobs. For example, if you are on a compulsory employment scheme, such as the Work Programme, and you do not take up one of the options you are offered, you could be sanctioned.

Asking for a hardship payment

If your Jobseeker's Allowance is stopped because of a sanction, you may be able to apply for a hardship payment.

More on hardship payments.

Challenging a sanction

If you have been sanctioned and you think the decision is unfair, you can challenge it. You can challenge either the decision to stop or reduce your benefit, or the length of the sanction period.

More on problems with Jobseeker's Allowance.

If you think a sanction decision is wrong, 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 email, click on nearest CAB.

Did this advice help?