The law relating to unemployment


If you have recently become unemployed, you may be seeking to claim welfare benefits. Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA) is the main benefit for the unemployed. Other types of unemployment support include:

  • Income support
  • Council tax benefits
  • Tax credits
  • Disability living allowance
  • Carer’s allowance
  • Housing benefits

Making an appeal

If you disagree with a decision made by an authority such as Jobcentre Plus or the Pensions Service you can ask them to reconsider the decision and, if they still do not change the decision, you can appeal the decision to an independent tribunal.

You may also need to attend a tribunal if you are being investigated for benefits fraud, such as:

  • For over-payment
  • Providing false information

If you are going to the tribunal, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

A solicitor will research relevant unemployment case law as well as the relevant legislation and rules for your type of matter. A solicitor will also try to use unemployment case law to support your case before the tribunal, but equally the courts will also use case law for their means.

Unemployment case law

Unemployment case law can often reveal outcomes in situations similar to yours. For example, in R (JSA) 1/08, the claimant was made redundant after 43 years of work. He claimed and was awarded jobseeker’s allowance, but after two weeks started work in a different field of work.

When he then left that job after slightly less than a month, he made a new claim for jobseeker’s allowance, which was awarded, but then withdrawn on the basis that it should not be paid for a period of six weeks because the claimant had voluntarily left his employment without just cause.

Do you have the right to choose?

The question on appeal to the Upper Tribunal was whether he had just cause for leaving his stop-gap employment and thus should be entitled to receive the payment.

The claimant’s main argument was that since the job was one that he should not have been required to take in the first place, he had just cause for subsequently leaving it voluntarily.

In dismissing the appeal, the Upper Tribunal held that:

  • The mere fact that a claimant could have declined a job does not give him just cause for voluntarily leaving the employment later
  • Similarly, the mere fact that an employment was a stop-gap until a claimant found something more suitable did not justify him in leaving a job without reasonable prospects of obtaining other employment

A solicitor can help you to find and interpret unemployment case law, which you may not otherwise have access to, to determine the likely outcome of your proposed case.

Do you have an unemployment case you want to bring to the Tribunal? Contact Law can put you in touch with a specialist employment solicitor to help you reach a solution. Please call us on 0800 1777 162 or complete the web-form above.

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