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How reserve forces training can affect benefits

Your reservist training could affect your or your partner’s claim for some benefits.

Although you'll usually keep your entitlement to claim, any earnings from your training could reduce the amount of benefit you get.

Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)

In your first year as a reservist, you can have up to 43 days training and keep your entitlement to claim if:

  • you’re claiming contribution-based Jobseekers Allowance (JSA)
  • you’re claiming income-based JSA (this also applies if you have a partner who is included in your claim)
  • you have a joint income-based claim for JSA with your partner

In each of these cases, your claim won’t be stopped when you spend time training and you won’t have to make a new claim afterwards. The earnings from your training will reduce the amount of JSA you get.

For up to 43 days training in the first year you will be treated as:

  • actively seeking work for the whole of a week if you’re in training for 3 or more days that week
  • available for work on any day when you’re training

If your partner is claiming contribution-based JSA, your training will not affect their claim or reduce the amount paid to them.

If your partner is claiming income-based JSA you’ll be included in their claim, so the earnings from your training will reduce the amount of JSA they get.

These rules also apply after your first year, but only for up to 15 days of continuous training each year.

Income Support (IS)

In your first year as a reservist, you can have up to 43 days training and keep your entitlement to claim Income Support, as long as you’re not claiming because you can’t work. The earnings from your training will reduce the amount of IS you get.

If you’re claiming IS because you can’t work you’ll lose your entitlement to claim if you do any training.

If your partner is claiming IS, they can keep their entitlement to claim, but the amount they get paid will be reduced by the earnings from your training.

These rules also apply after your first year, but only for up to 15 days of continuous training each year.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If your partner claims contribution-based Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), any training that you do won’t affect their claim.

If your partner claims income related ESA, you can train for up to 43 days in your first year as a reservist and they'll keep their entitlement, though the amount they get will be reduced. This also applies after your first year, but only for up to 15 days of continuous training each year.

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