Claiming job seekers allowance in Spain

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31 Jan 2012 12:00 AM by SpanishFruitcake Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

Hi everyone

I've just come accross eyeonspain for the 1st time and thought I would register, its always goog to hear how other expats are fairing. My husband and myself have lived in Andalucia for over 8 years, neither of us are retirement age yet, I still have 7 years to go and as my husband is 10 years younger we don't even mention his retirement !!

Our circumstances are that my husband works in the UK from April - Oct. He has never been able to find work here so this is the only way we've managed to stay here, its still a bit of a stuggle from time to time but the pluses stil outweigh the minuses.

I have a question about whether of not my husband could claim jobseekers allowance when he returns to Spain ? does anyone know 

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31 Jan 2012 4:14 PM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 I can never understand why people come on here and ask for information which is so easy to find on the official government websites.  If you do a google search with the question 'can I obtain job seekers allowance while in Spain', you will be led to the appropriate Work and Pensions info.   I suspect you can, if you have paid enough in insurance in the UK, but the problem with asking here, is that someone is bound to come on and say no you can't!!!!!    I will throw my hat in and say yes - with some restriction.  Let us know when you have checked on the official sites whether I am right!!!!



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31 Jan 2012 4:46 PM by SpanishFruitcake Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

Well that was a nice welcome message !

I have looked for the information myself and found it all a bit confusing, I just thought that if someone had been in a similar situation they may have been able to pass on a bit of their experience.

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31 Jan 2012 4:48 PM by D_B_S Star rating. 178 posts Send private message

I think you will find that you have to be available for work to receive JSA. If you leave the UK, even for a holiday, you have to inform the authorities. Also you have to be available to sign on, this would either be every 2-weeks or if long term unemployed monthly.

So I think that its not possible to receive JSA - if you are away and clearly unable to demonstrate you are seeking work.





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31 Jan 2012 6:22 PM by xetog Star rating in Wiltshire/holiday ap.... 514 posts Send private message

From a DWP leaflet entitled "Jobseekers allowance-Help while you look for work:

Who can get Jobseeker’s Allowance?
To get Jobseeker’s Allowance you must:

• be able to work for at least 40 hours a week

• be looking for work

• have paid enough National Insurance on your income

• have savings under a certain amount

• be 18 or over, and under State Pension age

• have a ‘jobseeker’s agreement’

• not be in education, 

 • live in Great Britain.

Since you at least initially have to report to a jobcentre every fortnight and provide proof of the jobs applied for and interviews attended, I would guess that it's not intended for providing an income whilst living in the sun.  What do you think?


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31 Jan 2012 6:34 PM by Poppyseed Star rating. 898 posts Send private message

Google is a wonderful tool!

Jobseeker's Allowance

Information about contribution-based and income-based Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) if you are moving or living abroad.

Contribution-based JSA

You cannot usually get contribution-based JSA outside the EEA. However, you may be able to get contribution-based JSA in the EEA for up to three months if you:

  • are entitled to contribution-based JSA on the day you go abroad
  • have registered as a jobseeker for at least four weeks before you leave
  • are available for work and actively seeking work in Great Britain up to the day you leave
  • are going abroad to look for work
  • register for work at the equivalent of a Jobcentre in the country you are going to
  • comply with the other country's rules on registering and looking for work

Income-based JSA

If you are going abroad permanently you cannot get income-based JSA.

You cannot usually get income-based JSA if your stay abroad is only temporary.

Check with your local Jobcentre office if you need to fill in any forms before you go abroad.



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31 Jan 2012 6:39 PM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 And this is why I said you need to look yourself - though I do apologise if I sounded blunt.   This is  from the info from the WPA as well, though I think Poppyseed has nailed it.   But can I just say I told you what would happen????   Some will say yes and some no - so it is always best to look at the official sites and use your own interpretation.  Had you said - I have been looking at the government sites and I am a bit confused, I would not have been so blunt.  But I am sorry,  I did not mean to upset you, only to ensure you get the CORRECT information.


Leaving the UK

You may be able to get contribution-based JSA in Spain for up to three months if:

  • you are entitled to contribution-based JSA on the day you go abroad
  • you have registered as a jobseeker for at least four weeks before you leave
  • you are available for work and actively seeking work in Great Britain up to the day you leave
  • you are going abroad to look for work.

Arriving in Spain

Signing on

You must sign on at your nearest office of the Instituto Nacional del Empleo

  • you must sign on within seven days of arriving in Spain to continue receiving the benefit as normal
  • you must provide INEM with an E303 form, which you must apply for at your jobcentre in advance of leaving the UK
  • you must go to the office once every three months to register as looking for work.



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31 Jan 2012 6:45 PM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 And by the way - this explains why the son of a friend of mine was able to take himself off to Madrid to 'look for work' for 3 months last year.  I had assumed he had stopped getting state benefit but you live and learn - nothing about benefits and the UK should surprise us!!!   



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31 Jan 2012 7:15 PM by Poppyseed Star rating. 898 posts Send private message

For anything official I would always recommend you check the offical websites, I have seen too much well intentioned drivel by people who obviiously have no idea which in turn leads to total confusion. Happy Google'ing!



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31 Jan 2012 9:21 PM by SpanishFruitcake Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

Thanks everyone for all the information

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31 Jan 2012 9:45 PM by wend691 Star rating in Lincoln & Rojales (C.... 179 posts Send private message

I would be interested to read if anyone has been successful in wading through all the Spanish red tape and has been able to JSA!

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05 Feb 2012 9:52 AM by camppj Star rating. 1 posts Send private message

Why should your husband be able to claim job seekers allowance whilst over in Spain when he is not available for work ?  There are too many people on benefit in this country who are not entitled it it. 

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05 Feb 2012 10:33 AM by wend691 Star rating in Lincoln & Rojales (C.... 179 posts Send private message

Have to admit I agree with you camppj!

I work extremely hard for my salary and dont have a grudge to bear about an element of my tax contributions being used to support benefits for those in need. I support the concept of the welfare state .... but the thought that someone could claim JSA whilst 'searching' for work in Spain (or elsewhere in Europe) does not sit easy with me.

I guess the question is searching for work where? If its UK, then thats one thing but searching for work in Spain is something different ...... there isnt any for a start!!!!

Oh well, the government decides the criteria for eligibility for benefits ........ and are beginning to change policy so that eligibility for benefits will revert back to being for those in demonstrable need.  Perhaps they will review the JSA criteria sometime soon.



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05 Feb 2012 2:42 PM by gazzerb Star rating in Malaga/Winchester. 34 posts Send private message

Welcome SpanishFruitcake.

"Nutty as" or "good enough to eat"?  LOL.

I think some replies were a bit brash. You asked a simple question for a few short circuit pointers but got directed to legal speak gobbledy (googly) gook!

3 months UK JSA wont last your "trade" gap.

I recently asked a similar question about unemployment in Spain and the procedure. Your husband has the right to claim here in Spain after he has registered for unemployment at the place mentioned. He will need evidence of UK N.Ins. contributions (as mentioned previously) in order to receive a monthly payment from the Spanish government (not UK). If he doesen't qualify for a handout it can still be important to register to keep pension credits and health entitlement being attributed to you. As you are not of pensionable age, the latter point can be very important although the EHIC card is more accommodating than the E111 it replaced. Our local hospital will allow you to register with them for a maximum of 1 year if you present your EHIC card, copy of your passport and your Empadron Certificate. This will entitle you to ALL the services they provide as if you were Spanish.

However: I have limited experience of UK DSS office staff but you hear stories of "Jobsworths". Well, they exist here in Spain too. So be prepared to be fobbed off, ignored, treated with contempt and belittled on your language capability (no matter how good it is) because they don't want to give you anything (as if it was their money). Many here have tried but few have succeeded. Then again you may strike lucky and get a very good member of staff. Get their name and ask for them when you return ('cos you will have to) otherwise the next time you will get the former type of  "Funcionario" and be back to sqaure one.

A "Funcionario" friend in our town council gave me a tip. "If anyone refuses to register you, ask for the relevent information in writing (law, etc) and they MUST give their full name at the time of asking. If they fail to do this, ask for the "Comments and complaints book" which ALL businesses and establishments must have and give to you on request".   Usually if you ask for this book things start to happen....they don't like handing it over. I think it has 3 sheets. One for you,, one remains in the book and the other is sent to the relevant authority (for us Junta de Andalucia).

There is no requirement for anyone to provide an interpreter except YOU should you need it. There is no equilvalent to Haringey Council here and documents printed in over 14 different languages.

The very best of luck Fruit.


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05 Feb 2012 3:27 PM by Bri Star rating in North. 591 posts Send private message

 Well forgive me, but I think that the leaflet Poppyseed, and then the one I posted, were easier to follow than your reply!!!    The point you make about NI though is a good one - and might make it worth while trying to get the continuity.  



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05 Feb 2012 4:40 PM by Poppyseed Star rating. 898 posts Send private message

Well what can you say when anyone calls the idiots guide to benefits ( gobbledy gook!



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05 Feb 2012 4:43 PM by newworld Star rating. 941 posts Send private message

Get on long term sick, it also pays more money than jsa, then you only have to go back  2 the uk now and then, 1000s of people are on it.

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05 Feb 2012 6:31 PM by lindawhyborn Star rating. 7 posts Send private message

Are you asking if you can claim JSA, or their equivalent, in Spain from the Spanish Social Security system? They seem to be able to claim everything when they are over here. Is it not reciprocated when you are over there in Spaib? Have you paid into their Social Security System? I dont think you can claim anything here unless you are available for full time work and you have to "sign on" fortnightly. You might be able to claim ESA (sickness benefit) but eventually they will ask you to come in for a medical with their Dr's.

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05 Feb 2012 8:37 PM by fazeress Star rating. 74 posts Send private message

Well after reading all those replies I'm not sure Spanishfruitcake will be asking another question!  People come on here and ask in good faith a question that usually they can't find or understand the answer to elsewhere!  I know there are a few who you might think are very simple questions but please be patient with all of us and try to be helpful!  I've read some really helpful info on here and I've not moved over yet but its all really helping me to be as prepared as possible for next year.

I thank you all for the helpful stuff, maybe treat us all as stupid but in a nice way!! 

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06 Feb 2012 10:10 AM by SpanishFruitcake Star rating. 6 posts Send private message

Thank you everyone for taking time to respond to my question.

I'm sorry if I didn't make myself completely clear in the beginning.

I was trying to find out about being able to get JSA here in Spain whilst also signing on and registering for work here.

I think what I have managed to understand now is that my husband would be eligible as he would have paid enough NI contributions, what we think he may need to do is remain in the UK for and extra 4 weeks, registering as a jobseeker before he can transfer that benefit to here.

I would like to add that it is not our intention to " scrounge ". or " or "work " the system as I know a lot of expats have manged to do. JSA would be based on the NI contributions my husband  has paid. We hope that whilst signing on here he might actually be offered employment, if this was possible he wouldn't have to return to the UK and we wouldn't have to spend so much time apart.

This being said we love living in Spain, my husband always says that he can cope with the seperations knowing that he has his life here in Spain to return to.

Thanks again to everyone.

SpanishFruitcake ( nutty as. lol )

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