Will I lose out on benefits if I leave my job voluntarily?

When you leave your job, you may need to claim benefits until you find work again. Your eligibility for benefits will depend on your means and on the details of how your job ended.

You are likely to be penalised by the loss of Jobseekers Allowance for around three months if you left your last job voluntarily, unless you can show that you did so for “good reason”.

JSA is gradually being replaced by Universal Credit. You can find out more information about the geographical roll out of Universal Credit. The Universal Credit system contains similar sanctions for leaving your job voluntarily.

Your trade union can give advice if you are making a claim for benefits and think you might face sanctions. If you live in a town or city with an Unemployed Workers' Centre, it is also worth checking out their services. 

Some trade unions have special community-based sections with very low rates, aimed at giving a voice to the unemployed and helping unemployed members back into work.

The Benefits sections of the GOV.UK website have some useful information for people who haven't claimed benefits before.

You can also find helpful information about JSA on the Citizens Advice website.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.