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Jobseekers allowance: Must my claim be by phone?

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This page does not apply outside Great Britain.
Last updated 12th August 2011 (part update 11th October 2017).

This page focuses on claims for Jobseekers Allowance. It may also be helpful for other welfare benefits, but different benefits can have different rules.

The usual way to claim Jobseekers Allowance is by telephone. Jobcentre Plus then send out a ‘customer statement’, a computer printout of the information provided by phone for you to check and sign and bring along to an interview at the local Jobcentre Plus office. Their national claim number is 0800 055 6688.

However, you do not have to claim by phone. Jobcentre Plus have been known to tell a person with a severe stammer that the claim must be made by phone. This is not correct. Though some staff may not be aware of it, claimants can go into a Jobcentre Plus to get a paper form, or claim online.

Claiming online

You can submit a claim online: www.gov.uk/jobseekers-allowance/how-to-claim

Filling in a paper claim form

Note: the option to use a paper claim pack may be out-of-date, you’ll need to check whether it’s still possible:

An alternative to claiming online is to get a paper claim pack:

  • you can go into a Jobcentre Plus office to get a claim pack; or
  • if you can give your name and address over the phone, you can ring the claims number above and ask to be sent a claim form. You could also book an interview for Jobseekers Allowance over the phone, then bring the completed form back when you come for the interview.

Using textphone facilities

You can make a claim on the phone through Jobcentre Plus’ textphone number 0800 023 4888, and conduct your conversation with them by typing what you want to say and reading their questions/responses. Or you can ask for a paper claim pack this way.

You will need textphone facilities – these are different from simply texting with a mobile phone. One option is to use a web based service called TalkByText Web Edition: go to www.ictrnid.org.uk/tbtweb.html. That is free, and can be used simply by accessing an internet website through your computer or smartphone (provided the phone supports JavaScript). An alternative is to buy software such as Talk by Text Home Edition to download onto your computer. Other ways of getting textphone facilities are explained in an Text communications (link to Action on Hearing Loss). A couple of tips on making a text call:

When you are making a textphone call there are certain conventions, particularly typing GA (go ahead) to let the other person know it’s their turn, and also as regards how to end the call. You can read about making a textphone call at Making a call from a textphone (link to textrelay.org).

Note that there is a free service called Text Relay – www.textrelay.org – where the operator can speak to the other person what you type in, and type back to you what they say in response. However, this service is for where you are phoning someone who is speaking. You do not need the service here as Jobcentre Plus have their own textphone facilities and so can type their replies.

If you do claim by phone

If you do choose to use the phone and use speech, you should be given the time to say what you want.

Equality Act 2010

Generally, Jobcentre Plus are required to avoid discrimination and make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010, and are subject to the Public Sector Equality Duty.


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