Can You Claim Unemployment Benefits if you own a house?

This blog answers the question “Can You Claim Unemployment Benefits if you own a house?” Unemployment Benefit eligibility requirements do not include owning or not owning a house. This blog also mentions other necessary conditions for getting unemployment benefits.

Can You Claim Unemployment Benefits if you own a house?

The one primary residence which you occupy for most of the year will not affect your entitlement for claiming any Unemployment benefits.  Most Unemployment Benefits have eligibility requirements relating to the proof of your disability (the Employment and Support Allowance) or the evidence of currently looking for work  or having a job in the past (Jobseekers Allowance).

Other requirements for claiming unemployment benefits related to your levels of savings and income. Your primary residence does not count towards the value of your  savings. Even if you choose to sell your house, you will have 26 weeks in which to buy a new one. If you are able to purchase a new residence within these 26 weeks, the money obtained from the sale of your previous house will not be added to your savings.

The Department for Work and Pensions(DWP) considers the money from your savings when it is evaluating your claim for unemployment benefits.

Which benefits are affected by savings?

The following benefits are affected by savings:

  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit
  • Tax Credits (Child Tax Credit and Working Tax Credit)
  • Council Tax Support
  • Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • Income-related Employment and Support Allowance
  • Income Support
  • Housing Benefit

What counts as savings?

Savings items and assets include:

  • cash and money in bank or building society accounts and even cash in current accounts 
  • National Savings and Investments savings accounts and Premium Bonds
  • stocks and shares
  • property, which is not your primary residence

What happens if my savings increase?

Your savings could increase because of the following reasons:

  • Due to receiving an inheritance in the form of property or monetary gifts. You might also be awarded compensation payments
  • You have moved in with someone who has a high level of savings
  • You own stocks or bonds whose value is rising
  • You have withdrawn capital from a pension planYou are claiming more benefits compared to your expenses

You need to inform the responsible benefits provider about your change of circumstances immediately.

Which items should not be counted as savings?

The following items should not be counted as savings:

  • The value of a property being used by a close relative who is over the state pension age or is “incapacitated” to live in
  • The value of a property you are carrying out essential repairs on, are trying to sell or have purchased for living, for a maximum period of 26 weeks. You may also be using this time period of 26 weeks to obtain legal permission to live there
  • The value of a former residence, you have abandoned owing to a relationship breakdown with your partner, is exempt from being counted as savings for a period of 26 weeks.
  • The money received from selling your home if you intend to buy a new property from that money within the next 6 months
  • Money received under insurance claims, if it has been utilized for repairs or renovation, for a maximum period of 6 months
  • Money such as a loan or grant used to pay for essential repairs or renovation
  • Capital which is sourced from an award of damages received as compensation for any injury. The award has been held under the Supervision of Court or has been received from a Personal Injury Trust.
  • Personal possessions including your car
  • Your corporate assets
  • any life insurance policy which has not been cashed in
  • any charge for currency conversion if your capital is not held in sterling
  • any Social Fund grant payments
  • arrears of certain state benefits
  • certain compensation payments
  • the value of a pre-paid funeral plan (for some working age means tested benefits)
  • the value of a pension fund you choose not to access (working age only)

What is the Jobseekers Allowance?

The Jobseeker’s Allowance is the main benefit you can claim if you are unemployed and searching for a new job.. This benefit is taxable.

 There are 2 types of Job seekers allowance:

  • The contribution based Jobseeker’s Allowance

To be eligible for the contribution based JobSeekers Allowance you need to have made a certain level of Class 1 National Insurance Contributions over the last 2 years. You must also be currently jobless and actively searching for work. You are also required to be available to start working for a new employer immediately

You can receive payments from the contribution based Jobseekers Allowance for a period of 182 days. After this time, your JobCentre coach will talk to you about other options for unemployment support.

  • The income based Jobseekers Allowance

To be eligible for the income based Jobseekers Allowance you need to have a level of savings under £16,000. You also need to be actively searching for work and available to start working for a new employer immediately. Your age should be below the state pension age. Another requirement for the income based Jobseekers Allowance is that you need to be out of work and if you are not, only working for less than 16 hours a weekIf you have an illness or disability that prevents you from working, you cannot get a New Style JSA, but you may be able to get a New Style job and support allowance.

How to claim the New Style JSA?

To apply for the new Style JSA you need:

  • Your National insurance number
  • Your bank or mortgage statements
  • Your employment data for the last 6 months. This should mention the period of your employment and include your employer’s contact information
  • Proof of benefit letter from the DWP for your private pension

If you applied online, you will receive an SMS or email notification confirming your application has been submitted.

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will then reach out to you within 14 days. You don’t need to get in touch with DWP unless more than 14 days have passed from when you submitted your application.

In case you are eligible the DWP will contact you within 14 days to arrange an interview at your local Jobcentre Plus office. Your presence for this interview is mandatory. The interview is usually carried out by a work coach from your local Jobcentre Plus office. You will need to bring your P45 returns with you along with 3 proof of identity documents for the interview.

During the Jobseekers Allowance interview you will conclude an agreement known as the “Commitment of the Applicant” for which the interviewer will ask you a range of questions. You will also be quizzed on the efforts you have made to look for a new job. The questions will also relate to confirmation of your identity.

You may agree with your JobCenter coach on the contents of your Applicant Commitment. These common points can be:

  • How do you need to proceed with finding a new job?
  • How many hours each week should be spent in searching for your new job?

You will also be required to sign an agreement known as a “Complaint Commitment” in which you resolve to take certain actions in the future to be able to find a job sooner.

Which efforts you promise to make in the future in your “Complaint Commitment” will depend on:

  • Your health condition
  • Your responsibilities at home
  • How much assistance you require to get a new job or for attaining a higher level of income

If you need support during your appointment, you can have someone else with you.

Which documents can I use to prove my identity when applying for the Jobseekers Allowance?

  • a valid passport from any country in the world
  • Al UK driving license with photo
  • A Bundeswehr ID card
  • A police warrant card
  • A Biometric residential permit (BRP)
  • Identity cards bearing the Proof of Age Standards Scheme (PASS) logo.
  • foreign identity card, but not identity cards issued under the UK National Identity Scheme
  • A EEA biometric residence card (BRC) or an EEA  registration certificate which confirms your settled immigration status in the UK (for people belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland)
  • A permanent residence card issued to a relative of a European Economic Area or to a Swiss national
  • A biometric residence permit proving that you are authorized to stay in the UK for at least 6 months
  • Copy of an immigration status document proving that you have been awarded “Indefinite leave” to Remain”in the UK or permanent residency status
  • A UK citizenship certificate mentioning your grant of leave to work in the UK
  • An International driving license valid for a maximum of 12 months from the date you have entered the UK

Which documents can I use as proof of my address when applying for the Jobseekers Allowance?

You can use any of the following documents as proof of address when applying for the Jobseekers Allowance:

  • Your current council tax returns
  •  A UK photo driving license 
  • A Full UK paper driving license
  • A copy of your last HMRC tax assessment (other than P45 or P60 returns)
  • Any other correspondence with HMRC
  • A Mortgage agreement (signed with a recognized lender)
  • Lease Car Contract
  • A document from your local electoral roll (with your full name and address on it)
  • A letter from your employer
  • A Personal Loan Accounts Statement
  • Any of your vehicle registration documents such as a V5C
  • A letter you received from an accountant or lawyer
  • A letter sent to you from a school or university 
  • Your student loan documentation
  • Life insurance certificates or life insurance policies
  • Construction agreements or car insurance papers
  • Bank statement, mortgage statement, credit card statement from the last 6 months
  • A Mobile phone bill from the last 6 months
  • A landline bill from the last 6 months
  • A utility bill from the last 6 months
  • A Contract for Prepayment of Electricity supply to your premises from an electric supply company from the last 6 months. Or a contract for the prepayment of gas or water supply to your address, from the last 6 months.

Can I still apply for Housing Benefit?

Universal Credit is replacing Housing Benefit for covering housing expenses in most cases. You can only apply for Housing benefit in the following situations:

  • You have reached the state pension age
  • You are a landlord who has a property given out on rent
  • Your income level meets income test requirements for claiming Housing Benefit
  • Your savings are under £16000 (unless you are on guaranteed pension credit)


This blog post addressed the question “Can You Claim Unemployment Benefits If You Own A House?” You can claim unemployment benefits if you own just one property (which you use to live in) if your level of savings does not exceed £16000. Unemployment benefits such as the Jobseekers Allowance are mostly affected by the person’s requirement to be “actively seeking work” and to be able to work.

Please feel free to comment on the content or ask any questions in the comments section below :

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) : Can You Claim Unemployment Benefits If You Own A House?

How can I lose my Jobseekers Allowance benefit payments?

You lose unemployment benefits (will be penalized) for a certain number of weeks if you don’t do everything you reasonably can every week to find work or improve your chances of getting a job. You might also use unemployment benefits if you are not taking any action, you will be forced by your JobCenter Coach to do so. Such actions of refusal to search for work include the following:

  • You do not go to an employment agency when advised to do so
  • Refusing a job offer or training opportunity
  •  Don’t even apply for a single job
  • Fail to attend a training course reserved for you
  • You quit your last job in the absence of a valid reason or due to your misconduct.

Contact Jobcentre Plus as soon as possible if you have not made any effort to look for a job

You might be made to explain to JobCenter why you did not search for work and in the absence or a good reason for it you will be penalized

When should I be ready to start working (under Jobseeker’s Allowance)?

You should be ready to start working immediately (the next day) under the Jobseekers Allowance. In some cases people require more time to prepare for there job, in case you are:

  • providing a service you are required to be prepared to start work within the next 24 hours.
  • Working as a volunteer or an apprentice, you should be able to begin work within 7 days, and you need to be ready to attend an interview within 48 hours (of notice) 

What does actively seeking work mean?

Actively seeking work means that you have to do all the things which you can willingly do every week to search for work. Actively seeking work also means to be able to improve the chances of actually finding a new job.

 The things you should do each week are laid out in your pledge as a plaintiff. These can prevent the use of Universal JobCenter to search and apply for jobs. These pointers can also prevent dependence on reaching out to employers or reduce the inconvenience of searching your newspaper for job openings.