The aim of this blog post is to help in answering the question of whether or not you can sign on to welfare benefits if you leave your job. To answer this question in the best way possible, we will first analyse the potential circumstances under which one would need to leave a job and which of these situations will qualify them for a claim. Then we will explore the application benefit for each relevant benefit and review the eligibility criteria for each one.

Can You Sign On If You Leave Your Job?

Yes, you can sign on for welfare benefits if you leave your job. However, the approval of your application to claim benefits will depend on the circumstances under which you leave your job. 

For instance, if you leave your job for any of the following personal reasons, you have a fair chance of being considered for welfare benefits:

  • constructive discharge from the workplace
  • medical reasons that hamper one’s output/ability to work
  • better employment option at another job
  • facing domestic violence at home
  • taking care of a family member

In addition to this, if you faced any of the following situations at work due to which you feel the need to leave your job, you can expect to be considered for welfare benefits:

  • taking voluntary redundancy due to reasonable circumstances
  • not paid according to the National Minimum Wage 
  • feeling unsafe due to the lack of health and safety standards
  • did not feel safe due to fear of being bullied or harassed 
  • worked on a zero-hour contract

Whatever the reason may be for leaving your job, it will become the basis of your benefits application. Therefore, it is essential that you are able to provide evidence in support of your claim.

If you leave your job voluntarily and without good reason, it can raise suspicions in the eyes of the DWP that you are deliberately trying to be on a low income to sign on to benefits. In this case, you will be sanctioned from benefits and will not be able to claim any amount for the next three months. 

In addition to this, you can also claim the following benefits from your former employer when you leave your job:

  • Unclaimed holiday pay
  • Overtime 
  • Bonus
  • Commission
  • Redundancy payment (if applicable)

Which Benefits Can You Sign On If You Leave Your Job?

You can sign on the following benefits if you leave your job and are on a low income:

  • New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance
  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance
  • Universal Credit
  • Pension Credit

In addition to this, you can also apply for Council Tax Reduction if you are on a low income after leaving your job.

However, you will not be able to claim benefits automatically once you leave your job. There are certain qualifying criteria that you need to meet for each benefit that you intend to claim.

At the same time, you should keep in mind that you will not be able to claim all of the above-listed benefits just because you are eligible for one of them. You will need to apply for each benefit separately and provide relevant documents to support your claim.

How Do You Qualify For Benefits If You Leave Your Job?

The qualifying criteria for each benefit intended to support low-income individuals or households are different. For instance, if you are trying to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance, you should: 

  • be under the State Pension age 
  • either be unemployed or working for fewer than 16 hours per week 
  • have made sufficient National Insurance contributions over the recent 2 to 3 years.

The same conditions will apply in the case of Employment and Support Allowance. Additionally, the claimant must be able to provide proof of a disability or health condition that has an impact on the number of hours that they are able to work. 

In order to claim Universal Credit, you or your partner are required to be under the State Pension age and have savings equal to less than £16,000.

For Pension Credit, both you and your partner should have reached the State Pension age. Otherwise one of you should be claiming Housing Benefit for people above the State Pension age.

Can You Sign On If You Leave Your Job Due To Ill-Health?

Yes, you can sign on for welfare benefits if you leave your job due to ill health as long as you are able to provide evidence in support of any of the following claims:

  • you have difficulty performing everyday tasks or moving around
  • you are unable to work due to your sickness or disability
  • you are on a low income or have no income due to ill health and inability to work

If you have difficulty performing everyday tasks or moving around due to ill health, you can qualify for the following benefits:

  • Personal Independence Payment; if you are aged between 16 years to State Pension age. To apply for PIP, you can call the PIP helpline at Telephone: 0800 917 2222 or send a letter to PIP new claims at Personal Independence Payment New Claims, Post Handling Site B, Wolverhampton, WV99 1AH to ask for the application form:
  • Attendance Allowance; if you are older than the State Pension age, have a physical or a mental disability, need help caring for yourself or need someone to supervise you and you have required support for at least 6 months. You can claim Attendance Allowance by about the Attendance Allowance claim form online or in writing and sending it to Freepost DWP Attendance Allowance via post.

Conclusion:

The discussion in this article has helped to conclude that you can sign on for welfare benefits if you leave your job and are going to be on a low income. However, in addition to being unemployed, you would need to (a) convince the DWP that you have a good reason for leaving your job by providing relevant evidence and (b) apply for each benefit separately if you meet the qualifying criteria. 

References:

Will I lose out on benefits if I leave my job voluntarily? | WorkSmart: The career coach that works for everyone

Have you just left work and need to claim universal credit? | Low Incomes Tax Reform Group

Check what benefits to claim if you’re sick or disabled – Citizens Advice