You will need to go to a Jobcentre Plus interview if you apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA) or Universal Credit. Find out what happens in your job centre interview and see how to prepare.
What happens in a JSA/Universal Credit interview at Jobcentre Plus?
In your interview, you’ll talk to your Work Coach about how you plan to look for work. This is called your “claimant commitment.”
You will talk about the kinds of work you’re looking for, how much you want to earn, how many hours you’re able to work each week, and any travel restrictions (for example, needing to use public transport if you don’t have a car.)
You’ll also discuss any other things in your life that could affect how much and what kinds of work you can do. This might include having young children, caring responsibilities, an illness or disability, homelessness, a drug or alcohol problem, a recent bereavement, or having recently experienced abuse.
Once you and your Work Coach have discussed your situation in detail, you’ll be told what “work related activity group” you’re in. This means the things you have to do in order to keep receiving your benefits.
Some examples of what you might need to do in order to keep getting your benefts:
- Meeting regularly with your Work Coach
- Writing a CV
- Attending training
- Searching and applying for jobs.
What should I bring to a Jobcentre Plus interview?
At the very least, you’ll need the following:
- Photographic ID (passport or driving license)
- Proof of address (an official letter from a bank, utility company or similar)
- Proof of your National Insurance number (find this on your NI card, a payslip, or a letter from HMRC.)
- A bank statement or bank card.
Depending on circumstances, you might also need things like:
- Proof of how much rent or mortgage you pay
- Proof of any savings you have
- Proof of your current or former income, for example a payslip or P45
- Details of any other income you have
- Evidence of your childcare costs and any child benefit you receive.
When you make your appointment, ask them exactly what you will be expected to bring.
If you don’t have any of the documents, talk to your advisor and ask what other arrangement would be acceptable.
Citizens’ Advice have also provided this handy checklist. Use it to make sure you’ve got everything you need. It also tells you some of the questions you’re likely to be asked – make notes before you go so you remember everything.
It’s also a good idea to take along a notebook and pen.
Coronavirus and Jobcentre Plus interviews
At the time of writing, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, nobody has to look for work or be available for work. This will continue until at least late June 2020, regardless of your previous claimant commitment. Your Work Coach may still want to check in with you by phone.
We expect that once the pandemic is under control, the previous rules will resume. This means that if you don’t stick to your commitments, your benefits could be reduced or stopped.