As has been said before, the assumption here is that the ultimate aim of everyone who is considering work is doing so, at least in part, in order to enable themselves to become independent, not relying upon others be that parents, partners or the state for their financial security.
But what if you are unable to find a job, apprenticeship or a place to continue your studies full-time and what if you lose a job or college place? What happens to you and how do you live when you are part of the NEET (not in education employment or training)?
There are lots of myths and stories about what if anything you can claim if you do not have a job, apprenticeship or a place to continue your studies.
The aim of the government is to ensure that 16 and 17-year-olds can secure a suitable offer of education or training in a school, college or work-based training. This process is known as the ‘September Guarantee’(1). Because of this 16 and 17-year-olds are not expected be able to make a claim for either of the two main benefits Jobseeker’s Allowance and Income Support. However, depending on your individual circumstances you may be able to claim.
Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) is a benefit open to most people over the age of 18 who are unemployed, not in education and looking for work.
If you are 16 or 17, you will only be able to receive Jobseeker’s Allowance in exceptional circumstances. For example if you are unable to live at home with your family, this is what they call ‘estrangement’.
If you are over 16 and unable to work because you are a lone parent, a parent who has to stay home and look after your children, registered as a disabled person, or you are responsible for the care of a relative who is disabled you may be eligible for Income Support.
Advice and help
If you think you may be eligible to make a claim for one of these benefits you need to call your local Jobcentre Plus office. Staff there will be able to help you find out what you are entitled to and guide you through filling in a claim form.
For many people, asking about and filling in forms for benefits can seem a little daunting so if you are 16 or 17 the best place to start is to call in to talk to one of the advisers from the Warrington Borough Council Young People’s Careers Service in the Youth Café on Mondays to Fridays from 12.30pm to 5pm.
As well as giving advice about what, if any, benefits you may be able to claim, the advisers will help you to find a job, apprenticeship or a place to continue your studies full-time.