Reader Question: Am I better off staying on benefits rather than working?

1 min Read Published: 25 Jan 2012

Get an answer to your financial question online Reader Question:

My son has been working for an agency for 3 weeks and has to wait for texts to see if he gets a shift but all the texts for over a week now have said no shifts today. Is he now entitled to a weeks benefit or more if he can't get a shift? Plus is he just better off staying on benefit so he knows he's getting something?


My response:


The official line is:

'If you are working under 16 hours, the amount of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) you can get will depend on your earnings. If you earn too much, you will not be able to get contribution-based Jobseeker's Allowance. You will also have to look for a full-time job as part of the conditions of getting Jobseeker's Allowance.'

So your son can claim JSA when he isn't working but his  recent earnings may impact on how much he receives each time he claims.

The answer as to whether your son is better off staying on benefits rather than ad-hoc working depends on how much he earns.

Morally I would never suggest someone stays on benefits - although I appreciate the reality of his situation. What I would say is that staying in work (even adhoc), which your son is clearly trying to do, will improve his chances of securing a full-time job as there will not be a break on his CV (something potential employers can be funny about).


I hope that helps

Best Wishes



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