This blog looks at all the possible benefits that can be claimed by a person who has been sacked depending upon the context. The different contexts will be detailed and the benefits available in each will be explained. 

Can I claim benefits if I get sacked ? 

Yes, you are entitled to quite a few benefits and in some cases , an increase in benefits if you are fired/sacked from your job. 

This is applicable only if you have been let go without any pending disciplinary procedures or charges of misbehaviour or unprofessional conduct.

If there has been any misconduct on your part, then you will be sanctioned by the  DWP. You will not receive Universal Credit or similar benefits for a period of 13 weeks. Only if you have serious difficulties making ends meet, will you be granted a ‘hardship payment’. 

You will have to return the amount granted to you; this amount will be deducted from your Universal Credit awards. 

Fair reasons for Termination of Employment 

If you have been sacked for any one of these reasons, you could be entitled to both Job-seeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit. 

  • Inability to perform satisfactorily – If an employee is unable to complete their work on time or with the necessary quality, keep pace with changes and work constructively in teams and with other employees, then the employer may terminate you. 

However, mostly this will be preceded by attempts to help you perform better and understand the requirements by providing some form of training or mentoring.

If your performance still does not show signs of improvement, then you are given a warning of impending termination, if your work shows no change. Only then can a termination be put into effect. 

  • Illness or long-term sickness– If you have an illness that is prohibiting you from doing your work to your best ability then the employer would not be wrong for terminating your employment. The employer must first try to address the issues by providing workplace support systems and by giving you leave concessions if the work is aggravating the illness. 

If none of this works and the illness continues to affect your work, then you may be asked to leave. But this does not apply to disabilities , both mental and physical , which are covered under the Equality Act, 2010. 

If an employer fires you because your disability constrains your capacity to work, then this is an offence. They are legally obliged to be inclusive and to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable you to work as comfortably and effectively as you can. 

  • Other Reasons – These include legal restrictions and any lack of cooperation from the employee’s side. 

If an employee no longer has requisite documentation that legalizes their work or if they do not cooperate with any changes in company policy or structure then they can be terminated. 

This will be considered a fair decision on the basis of ‘statutory restrictions’ or ‘substantial reasons’. 

If these are the reasons for termination, then the employee can claim the Job-seeker’s Allowance and Universal Credit as benefits. The benefits are explained in detail below. 

Benefits available after Fair Termination 

‘New-style’ Job-seeker’s Allowance (JSA) 

The ‘New-style’ Job-seeker’s Allowance replaces the original income-based and contributory Job-seeker’s Allowance. 

The income-based JSA has been merged with the Universal Credit system and it is a component that can be claimed if you lost your job, been sacked or quit of your own volition with good reason. 

Depending on your circumstances , you can claim both UC and the new JSA, but this depends from one person to another so request your local council for advice. 

To claim the new Job-seeker’s Allowance you need to be over 18 years of age. You have to have been an employee in the period at some point in the period preceding the claim. You also have to have sufficient National Insurance contribution/Credits for at least the past 2-3 years. 

You also have to be currently unemployed or employed for less than 16 hours a week and willing and capable to take on work. People who are self-employed and pay Class2 contributions to National Insurance do not qualify for JSA. 

To continue to receive JSA , you have to prove that you are actively looking for work.

If you are not making an effort to find employment in accordance with the ‘Claimant Commitment’ at the local job centre and with your work coach, then your benefit entitlements may be revoked.  

The total benefits will be subject to a benefit ‘cap’. The JSA amount depends primarily on your age as the following table will illustrate: 

Age JSA Weekly Amount 
24 years and below Up to £59.20
25 and over Up to £74.70

Universal Credit 

Most of the means-tested benefits have now been subsumed under the Universal Credit rubric. This includes Housing Benefits, Tax Credits such as Working Tax Credit amongst others. 

If you were already claiming these benefits before Universal Credit was introduced then you will have to shift to the UC system because you have had a change of circumstance. 

You will be entitled to the equivalent of these benefits under the Universal Credit components. These will assist you in meeting your rent, other residence service charges, provide you with credits to top up your income during a difficult time etc. 

Universal Credit is available to everyone, irrespective of whether they are working or unemployed or have a low income. If you do not have UC when you are dismissed you may apply for the same. 

If you have savings to the tune of £16,000 either on your own or along with your partner then you will not be eligible to claim Universal Credit. If you have children, then the amount you receive also varies depending on the number and whether they have any disabilities or special needs as well. 

Benefits after Dismissal for Misconduct 

Another justifiable cause for termination is dismissal due to poor behaviour, unprofessionalism and malpractices etc. 

In such cases, benefits will be withdrawn for a period of 13 months and in the case of Universal Credit even up to 3 years depending upon the extent of bad conduct or misbehaviour. 

You can challenge your employer’s decision or the benefits sanction, by using evidentiary support to the contrary. This could include documentation or correspondence such as email or letters. 

You may resort to mediation or arbitration or you could refer the matter to an employment tribunal if you feel any decision has been unfair. If the employment tribunal or any third party conciliation expert finds the decision to be biased and unfounded then you may regain access to unemployment and allied benefits. 

Benefits after being made redundant 

You could also be removed from your job because the company itself is downsizing. This is called being made redundant. 

In such a situation, you have a right to receive redundancy pay from the employer and be given a clear notice period. You may also be entitled to some form of leave in order to find another job. 

Most importantly, you should be made redundant on fair grounds. These could be because you have served a shorter period in the company or because you have less experience or fewer skills/qualifications etc. 

But unfair redundancy is based on gender, age, requests for maternity or paternity leave, subjective reasons like race, religion, marital status or for taking leave for national duties like jury duty. 

To get a better picture of which reasons are fair and which are unjustified please refer to- Redundancy: your rights: Being selected for redundancy – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

If you feel you have been made redundant for an unfair reason, you could appeal the employer’s decision at an employment tribunal. If not, you are entitled to redundancy benefits , which will be detailed below. 

Statutory Redundancy Pay 

When an employer makes you redundant , you are entitled to Statutory Redundancy Pay. This applies if you have worked for your employer for 2 years or more. However, it is not applicable if your employer offered you substitute employment and you refused it.

The Statutory Redundancy Pay is the legal minimum that your employer should give you. It could also be higher if your contract specifies a Contractual Redundancy Pay that exceeds the legal minimum.

The amount you receive also depends on your age and your salary for the years you have been working. The table below illustrates how the redundancy pay is calculated. 

AgeRedundancy Pay
Under 22 years Half a week’s pay for every year of service 
22 years to 40 years One week’s pay for every year of service 
Above 41 years One and a half week’s pay for every year of service 

The employer does not owe any redundancy payment  if the company becomes insolvent. Rather, you will have to claim it from the Insolvency Service on behalf of the company. 

This blog looked at all the possible benefits that can be claimed by a person who has been sacked depending upon the context. 

The different contexts have been described and the benefits available have been detailed. If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments , please contact us and leave a message. We welcome your input. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)- Can I claim benefits if I get sacked ?

If I get sacked without good reason, what process do I follow to challenge the decision ? 

There are a number of routes you can take to address your grievances. These grievances could range from your employer not paying you your dues or not giving you written reasons for your dismissal. 

In any case, you can first attempt to request the services of a third party for conciliation, mediation or arbitration services. This service is called the ACAS- the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. 

A similar agency that offers their assistance and neutral advice is the Labour Relations Agency. If this does not work because the employer is unwilling to negotiate or discuss terms, then you may appeal to the employment tribunal. 

If you are part of a trade union, you can use their assistance in filing claims at either the employment of industrial tribunals. 

Can I get benefits if my redundancy is caused by my employer’s insolvency ? 

If you are made redundant because your employer is insolvent, then you have a few procedural rights and certain benefits that you can claim. 

You must be included in company wide consultations about impending redundancies and their necessity, before you are given the sack.

Once you are made redundant, since the company is insolvent and Insolvency Service like an ‘insolvency practitioner’ or ‘official receiver’ will assist you with clearing your dues. 

These could be any payments/salaries outstanding,  bonuses due like holiday payments, the statutory or redundancy payment itself, and any other additional payments the employer owes. 

These include ‘notice pay’ for when you work and contribute during your notice period. For more information on what is legally due to you in the event of a redundancy, please refer to – Your rights if your employer is insolvent: Your rights – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Can I receive ‘new-style’ ESA if I am sacked ? 

One of the fair reasons for an employer to dismiss you is because you have an illness that does not permit you to work as per the requirements of your position or the needs of the company. 

It also means that any disabilities cannot be discriminated against, but long-term illnesses that are not classified as disabilities under the Equality Act, 2010,  are not included in this exemption. 

The earlier Employment and Support Allowance made provisions for people who could not work due to disabilities or could not work to capacity because of their disability. 

Now the ‘new-style’ ESA, also provides benefits to people who have been sacked because of a health condition, since it is illegal to fire people on the basis of their disability. 

The ‘new-style’ ESA is available to people who have been sacked because they were unable to work and continue to be too ill to resume work. 

As long as they or their partner do not have savings above £16,000, then they are eligible to claim the benefit. You have to have worked for at least 2 to 3 years and made Class 1 or 2 National Insurance contributions for the same period.

Do I still receive holiday payment if I am sacked ? 

Yes, you can either take your statutory holiday leave during the notice period. Generally the employees are entitled to around five and half weeks of annual paid leave. 

You can take whatever period of leave remains; or if you haven’t taken any then you may utilize the whole of it. 

If you have taken more leave than is permitted, the employer cannot deduct it from your final salary unless it is explicitly stated in the contract. 

If you don’t want to take leave and wish to be compensated monetarily for your annual leave, then the employer will give you the monetary equivalent of a week’s pay for each week of annual paid leave that you have left. 

For more detailed information on holiday pay entitlements please refer – Holiday entitlement: Holiday pay – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Will I be forced to leave my job once I reach the State Pension Age ? 

No. Your employer cannot sack you because of your age. This is an unfair dismissal and can be challenged on the grounds of discrimination. 

Moreover, the government has repealed the Default Retirement Age Act, by which a person should retire once they reach age 65. Now, they are free to work past this age as long as their physical and mental faculties are intact and they can keep up with the requirements. 

So not only are you protected from being sacked, you can also continue to access State Pension as you are working as well as any private pension offered by your company too.

References : 

  1. Government Digital Service. (2012, January 10). Dismissal: your rights. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/dismissal/reasons-you-can-be-dismissed
  2. Government Digital Service. (2012, January 10). Dismissal: your rights. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/dismissal/what-to-do-if-youre-dismissed
  3. Gov.UK. (2012, January 25). Redundancy: your rights. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/redundancy-your-rights
  4. Government Digital Service. (2012, January 25). Redundancy: your rights. GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/redundancy-your-rights/being-selected-for-redundancy
  5. Benefits and tax credits when you’ve lost your job. (n.d.). MaPS. https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/benefits/benefits-and-work/benefits-and-tax-credits-when-youve-lost-your-job
  6. Redundancy pay. (n.d.). MaPS. Retrieved October 29, 2021, from https://www.moneyhelper.org.uk/en/work/losing-your-job/redundancy-pay
  7. New Style Employment and Support Allowance. (n.d.). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance#eligibility
  8. Your rights if your employer is insolvent. (n.d.). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/your-rights-if-your-employer-is-insolvent/your-rights
  9. Lost Your Job? Dismissal Benefits that You Can Claim. (2016, August 27). Cashfloat. https://www.cashfloat.co.uk/blog/money-borrowing/dismissal-benefits/
  10. Being dismissed by your employer | nidirect
  11. Holiday entitlement. (n.d.). GOV.UK. https://www.gov.uk/holiday-entitlement-rights/taking-holiday-before-leaving-a-job

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