Find out changes to our services and advice in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Hardship Payments

Find out about Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) hardship payments.

Hardships payments are reduced-rate payment of benefit that can be made in certain circumstances such as if your benefit is sanctioned.  

You may be able to get a hardship payment if:

  • you, your partner or children are experiencing hardship
  • in some cases for JSA, you are deemed to be in a "vulnerable group".

Jobseeker's Allowance Hardship Payments

You may be able to get a JSA hardship payment if one of the following applies:

CircumstanceFrom when is a Hardship Payment payable? 

Your JSA is subject to a sanction.

You can get a hardship payment from day 15 of the sanction period unless you are in a vulnerable group in which case it is payable right away. 
It has been decided that you do not satisfy the job seeking conditions.

You can only get a hardship payment if you are in a vulnerable group. It is payable right away.  

Your JSA is suspended because there is doubt about whether you are meeting the job seeking conditions.You can get a hardship payment from day 15 of the sanction period unless you are in a vulnerable group in which case it is payable right away. If it is later decided that you do not satisfy the job seeking conditions, you will only continue to get Hardship Payments if you are in a vulnerable group.  
You have made a new claim for JSA and are waiting for the Jobcentre Plus office to decide whether you meet the job seeking conditions. You can get a hardship payment from day 15 of the sanction period unless you are in a vulnerable group in which case it is payable right away. 

Vulnerable Groups

You will be classed as being in a vulnerable group if one of the following applies:

  • you or your partner are pregnant
  • you or your partner are responsible for a child or young person
  • your JSA includes a disability premium
  • you or your partner have a chronic medical condition causing physical impairment
  • you or your partner are caring for someone who is either getting, or has claimed Attendance Allowance, the daily living component of PIP/Armed Forces Independence Payment or the middle/highest care component of DLA
  • you or your partner are a 16/17 year old who can claim JSA
  • you or your partner are a 16/17 year old claiming JSA on the basis of a severe hardship direction
  • you or your joint claim partner are under 21 and within the last 3 years were being looked after by the local authority. 

Job Seeking Conditions

To satisfy the job seeking conditions, you must be:

  • available for work, and 
  • actively seeking work,and 
  • have a current jobseeker's agreement with the Jobcentre Plus. 

Amount of JSA Hardship Payments

JSA will be reduced by 40% of the personal allowance for a single person.  Any premiums and/or housing costs you are entitled to will continue to be paid.  

if you, your partner or a child included in your claim is pregnant or seriously ill, the reduction will only be 20%.  

How to apply for JSA Hardship Payments

Please complete form JSA10 which you can request from the Jobcentre Plus Office.  

Employment and Support Allowance Hardship Payments

You may be able to get an ESA hardship payment if your benefit is being paid at a reduced (or nil) rate because your ESA is subject to a sanction for:

  • failing to take part in a work focused interview or
  • failing to undertake work-related activity.

Amount of ESA Hardship Payments

ESA will be reduced by 40% of the personal allowance for a single person.  Any components, premiums and/or housing costs you are entitled to will continue to be paid.      

How to apply for ESA Hardship Payments

Please complete form ESA10 which you can request from the Jobcentre Plus Office.  

Challenging a Hardship Payment decision

If you are refused a hardship payment, you can ask the Jobcentre Plus Office to look at the decision again.  This is called a mandatory reconsideration.  If the decision is not changed in your favour, you can appeal against the decision.  

Contact details

Welfare Rights Team

Pullar House, 35 Kinnoull Street, Perth, PH1 5GD
Tel 01738 476900 (Option 1)