This chapter explains how you make a new claim for JSA, which ES staff you will have contact with at this stage and some of the problems that you may encounter (e.g. if you wish to make an urgent or backdated claim).

It also describes the claim forms and provides detailed guidance on the questions in one of them, the Helping you Back to Work form (ES2), which asks about your previous work and training and the type of work you are available for. The answers you give in the ES2 are used as the starting point for the discussion you have with an adviser at your first interview.

The chapter ends by explaining what happens if you "break" your JSA claim for a short period, for example, to take up a temporary job.

Contacting the Jobcentre

When you become unemployed you should register your claim for JSA by contacting your local Jobcentre, which is listed in the telephone directory under "Employment Service". (In some cases the office that you have to attend may still be called an Unemployment Benefit Office).

The first day of your claim for JSA starts either on the day you contact the Jobcentre or on the first day you become unemployed if that is later. You can register your claim "in person, by telephone or by letter" (JSA NJI, ch 1, para 22). If at all possible you should contact the Jobcentre no later than your first day of unemployment. If you are not able to do so, you may wish to make an application for a backdated claim (see page *). You should make sure that you complete the claim form properly and provide all the required information at the New Jobseeker’s interview, such as proof of your National Insurance number, or you may have problems.

The new jobseeker receptionist

The first person that you are likely to see, or talk to, is called a new jobseeker receptionist, who should issue the claim forms and provide you with information about the conditions of signing on for JSA. The main responsibilities of this staff member are to (JSA NJI, ch 1, paras 1-4 & appen 1, para 1):

Although this receptionist is told to tell you about the availability and jobseeking conditions of entitlement for JSA, s/he does not have the power to assess whether you meet these conditions and cannot know for certain which is the most appropriate benefit for you. If you experience some discouragement at this stage you should not be put off as you have a legal right to make a claim.

ES guidance states that "even when [you] may not be eligible for JSA, this does not remove [your] right to claim" and that a receptionist must "always take a claim for JSA if [you] insist" (JSA NJI, ch 1, para 4 & appen 3, para 2). Furthermore, receptionists are told they should "deal sensitively and appropriately with [you]" and "always be polite, courteous and helpful" (JSA NJI, ch 1, para 11). If the receptionist will not let you claim ask him/her to put that in writing and ask the receptionist, or someone else, if you can speak to the manager or their supervisor.

The JSA claim forms

The receptionist will issue you with the standard JSA claim pack which includes the JSA claim form (JSA1) and the Housing Benefit and Council Tax forms. You will also be given the form Helping you Back to Work (ES2). The questions in the ES2 form are covered in more detail on page *.

If you are an owner occupier you should request a copy of form MI12 for applying for assistance with paying your mortgage interest, as this is not given out automatically. You may also be given other forms to fill out, for example: form ES567S if you are studying part-time; form ST1 if you were previously a full-time student; form B16/B17 if you were previously self-employed; and form JSA5 if you are making a backdated claim for JSA.

You will be told to complete these forms and to bring them along to your New Jobseeker interview along with your National Insurance number (if you know it) and a copy of your P45 tax form (if you have one). If you do not know your National Insurance number then you should provide information which enables the staff to trace it. This is usually the same information that is set out in the forms (JSA NJI, ch 3, para 36). The last page of the JSA claim form lists all the completed forms and documentation which you should bring along to your interview. If you cannot entirely comply with this, you should still attend your interview on time as any missing information can be checked later. You will also have to provide information within a month of first contacting the ES.

ES staff are told to assist you with filling out the claim forms if you need help, especially if you have literacy problems and/or language difficulties. Your rights at interviews are explained in more detail on pages * and *.

JSA claim form (JSA1)

The questions in the JSA claim form are designed to enable the BA to assess if you are eligible for Contribution-based JSA on the basis of your National Insurance contributions and/or eligible for Income-based JSA on the basis of your needs. In addition, the answers are used to calculate your weekly benefit entitlement and to apply deductions to your JSA where appropriate. As a result, it asks detailed questions about your domestic and financial circumstances and about any sources of income which may affect your JSA. Your eligibility for JSA on these grounds is covered in detail in Chapter 3.

The JSA claim form is divided into two sections. The first section, which all claimants must fill in, contains questions which are relevant to both Contribution-based JSA and Income-based JSA. The second part of the form is optional and is applicable only if you wish to claim Income-based JSA. It is advisable to complete this section if you are in any doubt about your eligibility, as receipt of even a small amount of Income-based JSA can entitle you to a range of "passported benefits" (see Chapter 3).

The JSA1 form also asks a number of questions about your employment during the last 12 months. The main purpose of these questions is to determine the circumstances in which you left your last job and whether your claim should be referred to an adjudication officer to investigate whether you are liable for a benefit sanction for leaving your job voluntarily or being dismissed for misconduct. This "voluntary unemployment" benefit sanction is covered in more detail in Chapter 6.

You are also asked to specify any payments that you have received, or expect to receive, because your job has ended. For more details on how this may affect your entitlement to JSA, see page *.

In another section of the JSA1 form you are asked a number of questions about current and previous education and training courses. For more details on how this may affect your entitlement, see Chapter 18.

Information to support a JSA claim

Rules introduced in October 1997 place responsibility on claimants to provide basic information to support a claim before it can be accepted as having been made (SS (C&P) Regs, regs 4 & 6). The rules are that:

These rules mean that the date of your claim for JSA may not be treated as the date of your initial contact with the ES if you are unable to comply with the requirement to provide the completed claim form(s) and supporting documentation either:

If you don’t comply with these requirements you will be able to receive JSA for the period from when you first contacted the ES only if you make a successful application for a backdated payment of JSA (see page *).

The supporting information required includes information which enables your National Insurance number to be identified or traced. For more details see page *.

Appointment for your New Jobseeker interview

As well as issuing the claim forms, the receptionist will explain what will happen at the New Jobseeker interview, including the fact that you will have to fill out another form – the Jobseeker’s Agreement – which will not be given to you until you attend the actual interview (see Chapter 6). ES staff are told to "make sure the majority of New Jobseeker interviews are undertaken within 3 days of the jobseeker making an appointment" (JSA NJI, ch 1, para 16b).

You should keep the appointment for your New Jobseeker interview as you will not get any benefit until you attend it. If you are late, the interview may have to be rescheduled for later in the day or on a subsequent day. If you cannot possibly keep to the original appointment you should phone the Jobcentre to change the day or time of the interview. If a rearranged interview is on a later day you "may have to make a backdated claim for the period between [your] initial contact and the rearranged appointment" (JSA NJI, ch 1, para 67).

If your "interview is arranged by telephone and the appointment is more than 2 days ahead [ES staff should] consider posting [you] a claim pack". Alternatively, you may be asked to attend 30 minutes early in order to complete the forms before your interview (JSA NJI, ch 1, paras 73-74).

Making a new JSA claim by post

Even if you qualify as a postal claimant for signing-on purposes (see page *) you will still have to attend the Jobcentre for your New Jobseeker interview unless attending would (JSA NJI, ch 1, paras 101 & 102):

Claims dealt with by post will be treated as made if the properly completed claim form is received in the Jobcentre within 1 calendar month of your first contact (JSA NJI, ch 3, para 103).

For more details about postal signing procedures, see page *.

Urgent cases

If your case is urgent and you require payment of your JSA as soon as possible (e.g. because you are suffering hardship) you do not always have to wait several days for your New Jobseeker interview. Your Jobcentre is obliged to ensure that "the appointment system should be able to cater for urgent reviews". The receptionist is told to report your request to their line manager "who will decide whether an urgent review is appropriate" in your case (JSA NJI, ch 1, para 87).

If you are granted an interview on the same day you should be prepared to wait and you will be asked "as far as possible" to complete all the claim forms. However, staff are told that "if time does not allow it is not essential for form JSA1 to be completed in order for [your] New Jobseeker interview to be undertaken". However, you will be told that the "claim forms must be completed and returned for checking and processing with the appropriate supporting evidence within 2 weeks of the interview".

Backdating claims

When signing on for JSA your claim can usually be treated as straightforward from the date you first contacted the Jobcentre. If you want to claim for a period of unemployment before this date you will be given a copy of the form Application to Backdate a Claim to JSA (JSA5) and told to fill it out giving:

Any delay in completing the form will also be taken into account when deciding the period of your claim (JSA NJI, ch 1, para 125). As well as showing that you were available for and actively seeking work (which will usually be decided by ES staff), you will also have to show in the form that you had "good cause" (see below) for delaying making your claim and that you were capable of work during the period in question. Whether you meet these two conditions will be decided by an adjudication officer (JSA NJI, ch 3, para 121).

Wherever possible you will be asked to complete the JSA5 form while you are in the Jobcentre. If you wish to take it away you will be told to return the form to the Jobcentre as soon as possible to avoid further delay. Your claim will not be processed until this form is returned (JSA NJI, ch 3, para 121). If you are taking the form away when you are making a new claim you should ensure that you bring it along with the other forms when you attend your New Jobseeker interview to prevent any delays in your claim being processed.

In order for your backdated claim to be successful you will have to show in the JSA5 form that you "could not reasonably have expected to make the claim earlier" and that you also had "good cause" for delaying your claim for one of the following reasons (SS (C&P) Regs, reg 19(4)&(5)):

Your JSA claim can only be backdated for a maximum of 3 months even if you meet the above conditions.

However, you may also receive backdated JSA for a maximum of 1 month if you can show that you had "good cause" for delaying your claim for one of the following reasons (SS (C&P) Regs, reg 19(6)&(7)):

If you are claiming JSA and your circumstances change in such a way as to affect the amount of JSA you are entitled to and this is not implemented from the date your circumstances changed, you are entitled to request the backdating of a review of your JSA entitlement covering a maximum period of 1 month.

The Helping you Back to Work form (ES2)

When you first sign on at the Jobcentre, in addition to the JSA1 claim form and the Housing and Council Tax Benefit forms, you will be given a copy of the form Helping you Back to Work (ES2). The questions in the ES2 form are important because the ES can use the answers you give to challenge whether you are actually available for work and eligible to claim JSA in the first place. In addition, the information you provide in this form is used as the starting point for the discussion you have with the adviser when drawing up your Jobseeker’s Agreement at your New Jobseeker interview.

The answers you give in the Jobseeker’s Agreement will be the primary means used by the ES to determine whether you meet the availability for work and actively seeking work conditions. However, you should also give due care and attention to your answers in the ES2 form because it will also be used to "decide if you can get JSA" rather than simply laying the groundwork for the completion of the Jobseeker’s Agreement. This is because the ES2 form contains certain questions not specifically covered in the Jobseeker’s Agreement which could call into question your availability for work.

For example, only the ES2 form contains the question "What is the lowest wage you are willing to accept?" The form also contains other questions pertaining to your availability, including the distance you are willing to travel to work. It also includes questions about the type of work you are looking for, your qualifications and work experience, other relevant abilities and interests and whether you have any special needs.

When you fill out the ES2 form you should bear in mind the guidance given in Chapter 4 on the availability and jobseeking rules which set out what your rights and obligations are regarding these JSA entitlement conditions.

Refusal to answer the questions in the ES2

You should answer the questions in the ES2 as refusal to do so will immediately give the ES the opportunity to question whether you are available for work. Your claim may be suspended and referred to an adjudication officer who will decide whether your actions mean that you are not available for work. However, if a "jobseeker refuses to complete ES2" advisers who conduct the New Jobseeker interview are also told "to obtain the information needed to agree a Jobseeker’s Agreement through discussion" at the interview itself (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 286). Note that if you refuse to complete a Jobseeker’s Agreement you are not entitled to JSA (see Chapter 6 for more details).

Changing your answers in the ES2

If you wish to change a statement in the ES2 form you are entitled to do so, but be prepared to explain why you are making a change. Your circumstances may have changed since originally completing the form, you may have misunderstood the question or realised that the ES adviser misinterpreted your answers. ES guidance says that you "may want to alter [your] answers to the questions on form ES2 once [the adviser has] explained the availability rules to [you]" (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 291).

ES guidance says that if "the request to make a change(s) arises during the New Jobseeker interview it will not be necessary to complete a fresh form". Instead, the adviser will ask you "to make alterations to the existing form or to complete ES589 to give further information [and to] sign and date all amendments and additional statements" (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 292).

If at any other stage you wish to change the answers in the ES2 form, an adviser will "consider whether a variation to [your] Jobseeker’s Agreement is appropriate" (see page * for the procedures involved in "varying" your Agreement). The adviser will also ask you (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 293):

If an adviser had already decided to suspend your benefit, this decision is unlikely to be reversed by simply changing your answer. Unless you are able to convince the adviser that there has been a genuine misunderstanding s/he will still suspend your benefit until an adjudication officer makes a decision. However, if you have changed your answer or completed another form and explained why you wanted to make the change, it does mean that the adjudication officer will have all the information when making a decision.

Can you lose benefit just because of your answers?

A decision by a Social Security Commissioner gave some protection to claimants whose benefit was stopped because of the answers they gave on the previous availability forms for Unemployment Benefit – the ES461 and the UB671R – which were in use up until the introduction of JSA in October 1996 (CSIS/13/1991). This decision is still relevant, especially as it relates to the answers given to questions in the previous forms which are also in the ES2 form (i.e. relating to working hours and your wage level).

The case involved a man who had been out of work for 7 years. He had completed an availability questionnaire indicating that he wanted work as a security guard, that the lowest weekly wage he would accept was £200 per week and that he was willing to work between 8 a.m. and 4.30 p.m.

Benefit was disqualified on the grounds that the restrictions on pay and hours meant that he had no reasonable prospect of securing work. The disqualification was upheld by two appeal tribunals which the claimant attended.

The Commissioner argued that it was unreasonable to stop benefit solely on the basis of the answers given on the UB671R – the "sole source of the restrictions found by the Adjudication Officer". He pointed out that the (then) Employment Department "appear to have asked innocuously" the hours the claimant was prepared to work and the lowest wage he would accept, and "the Adjudication Officer then, without further ado, appears to have condemned the claimant for answering such leading questions".

The Commissioner stressed that "there was nothing to show that if there had been different hours or in fact a different wage offered the claimant might not have accepted it". The claimant "was rather being asked to make a bid". The Commissioner was "doubtful whether answering such questions in such circumstances necessarily implies that the claimant was placing restrictions on his prospects of securing employment".

The judgement argued that the appeal tribunal had "not made any findings of fact showing the basis upon which or by which they came to regard the answers to the questions on the forms as ‘restrictions’ nor why in the circumstances each was an unreasonable restriction". If they had wanted to "they would really have had to enquire of the claimant why he had answered the questions in the way he did, discover the purpose of them and whether [the claimant] intended them to be properly understood as restrictions he was imposing on his employment" (original emphasis).

The tribunal’s failure to consider fully the claimant’s reasons was held to be "an essential error disentitling them from either holding that these were restrictions or coming to a conclusion as to whether or not they were unreasonable". The Commissioner set aside the original decision and ordered the appeal tribunal to consider the matter again emphasising that the claimant should attend and that the tribunal should question him about his answers "before they can come to any proper conclusion on the question".

This decision emphasised the importance of discovering the reasons behind the answers given to the questions in the availability form. It shows that the answers to the question should not be considered definitive without a proper context. However, it is important to note that in a similar case, where the claimant did not attend the tribunal hearing, it was decided that the tribunal was entitled to reach the conclusion that unreasonable restrictions had been placed on the individual’s employment on the facts as they were presented (CIS 345/91).

Furthermore, many of the questions in the ES2 covering the availability and jobseeking conditions are now also included in the Jobseeker’s Agreement and ES advisers are obliged to discuss these conditions with you at your first interview. This may reduce the prospects of a successful challenge (as outlined above) under JSA, as many of the answers you give in the ES2 must be discussed with an ES adviser in the negotiations over your Jobseeker’s Agreement.

Questions in the Helping you Back to Work form

On the following pages we provide guidance on the specific questions in the ES2 form and refer you to other parts of the Handbook for more detailed information to help you consider how to answer the questions in relation to your personal circumstances without adversely affecting your entitlement. Remember, many of the questions are designed to assess your availability for work. This entitlement condition is explained fully in Chapter 4.

Questions 1–4. The form initially asks you to give your personal details and your National Insurance number. If you cannot remember your National Insurance number and you do not yet have a copy of your P45 from your previous employer (which includes the number) continue to fill out the rest of the form. The ES can process your claim without this information. However, you should be aware that you will be required to provide more supporting information to verify your National Insurance number, or provide information to enable the ES to trace it (JSA NJI, ch 3, paras 32- 48).

Questions 5–6 ask whether you are able to work and willing to work. You must answer yes to both these questions or you will not fulfil the JSA conditions that you must be both capable of work and immediately available for work. If you do not answer yes, it is likely that you will not receive any JSA (unless you qualify for hardship payments) and your claim will be referred to an adjudication officer.

Question 7 asks whether you are "looking only for a temporary or casual job?" – the form suggests that this might be the case because you have a starting date for a job soon or you have been temporarily laid off or put on short time by your employer. See page * for more details about the JSA entitlement of short-time and laid-off workers.

Although most people are expected to look for full-time permanent work it is reasonable to look for temporary work in the above circumstances or because you have another commitment on a definite date (e.g. starting a full-time course or plans to leave the country). In these circumstances the relevant date will be noted and your claim will be reconsidered at that time if you have not stopped claiming JSA.

However, note that ES staff are also told that "if temporary jobs are not available in the location or type of work that [you are] prepared to accept, [your] availability for work may be in doubt" (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 287, q7).

Question 8 asks "What is your usual job?". Unless you have never worked before you should state what job you normally do or any job that you have had before. You can put down either what your last job was or the job that you have done most often. Your answers to this question will be used to decide what your "usual occupation" is and will influence any "permitted period" you are given when you attend your first interview. The permitted period is important because it enables you temporarily to restrict the type of work and wage level that you are available for (see page * for more details).

Question 9 is about the "types of jobs" you are looking for. The ones you specify should be available in your area and you should be capable of doing them. The ES adviser is required to judge whether your choice is "realistic and reasonable" in light of your previous experience, usual occupation, health, training and skills acquired and qualifications.

Be careful to ensure that you are really willing to accept these jobs because you may subsequently be offered this type of work. You should only name jobs that you have a reasonable chance of getting. If you say that you are not willing to consider certain types of work and you are not covered by a "permitted period" this will raise doubts about your availability to work.

Questions 10–11 ask about any disability or health problem which may affect your day-to-day activities and/or the kind of work that you can do. These questions are important because you should not put yourself in a position whereby you are required to take work which is bad for your health. Remember, you cannot be asked to work in an environment or occupation which will cause damage to your health. In addition, there are wide ranging exemptions granted to people with disabilities and health problems under the availability and jobseeking rules. The exemptions enable you to restrict the type of work you are looking for and the number of days and hours you are available for work each week (see pages * and *).

It can be tempting to suggest that you can do more than you can in order to safeguard your benefit, but remember that if you are capable of work and fit enough to carry out work in your chosen job (even if only to a limited extent) then your claim for JSA must be accepted. If you have lost entitlement to Incapacity Benefit because you were judged to be capable according to the All Work Test, the ES must accept that you are capable of work for the purposes of JSA (see page *).

The information you provide here will be used at your first interview to decide whether, or to what extent, you can place restrictions on your availability for work and future jobseeking when you fill out the Jobseeker’s Agreement (see page *).

Questions 12–14 ask for information on your qualifications, work experience, abilities and interests, and ask whether you have a CV. You should enter information here which supports your choice of the work that you are going to look for, which could include any training or voluntary work you may have done in the past.

ES advisers are instructed "to check whether [you are] suitably qualified and/or experienced for the type of work [you] are looking for" and that if you insist "on looking for a job for which [you] lack the relevant qualifications or necessary experience there may be an availability doubt" over your claim for JSA (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 287, q12).

These answers can also influence whether you get the full 13-week permitted period or a shorter one (see question 8). Remember that after your "permitted period" (or from the beginning of your claim if you do not qualify for any permitted period), the information given here can also be used to suggest other vacancies to you. Advisers are told to "use this information to consider alternative work which [you] may be qualified and/or experienced to do" (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 287, q13).

Question 15 asks you how soon you can start work. The JSA rules say that you if you are offered a job you must be available to start work on the same day unless you are one of the groups allowed to receive either 24- or 48-hours notice (see page *). If you don’t agree to this, and you are not covered by any of the exemptions, your claim is likely to be referred to an adjudication officer on the grounds that you are not fully meeting the availability for work condition.

Question 16 asks you to specify the "lowest wage you are willing to accept". Make sure that the wage you want is generally offered for your type of work. It is a good idea to check the local press to see what kind of pay is being offered for the type of work you want.

ES staff are told that "the lowest amount [you are] prepared to work for must be reasonable given the jobs [you are] looking for, the labour market and any in-work benefits [you] are entitled to". If you are "unlikely to get the lowest amount [you] have stipulated doing the type of work [you] are prepared to do and in the location [you] are prepared to work in, there may be an availability doubt" (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 287, q16).

Furthermore, they are told to "make sure the amount stated is what the jobseeker needs and not what they prefer" (JSA LOA, ch 2, appen 3).

The adviser might compare your last earnings with the wage you say you are willing to accept in the ES2 form, and question you if the latter is higher. The difference, however, could be explained if, for example, you have had more training since your previous employment ended, you previously worked part-time, the rate of pay has risen or different rates are offered for the same job in your area. You should explain your justifiable reasons for any difference to the adviser.

Usually after the end of your "permitted period" (or after 6 months at the very latest), you will have to show "good cause" for refusing a vacancy. In these circumstances, you will not be able to turn down a vacancy just because it does not pay the going rate for the job. For more details about the availability rules concerning your expected rate of pay, see page *.

Question 17 asks whether you are currently doing any education or training. If you are a full-time student you are normally not eligible for JSA, but part-time courses are permissible providing you meet certain conditions. See Chapter 18 for more details about studying or training and claiming JSA, and for detailed guidance on how to complete another form – the student questionnaire (ES567S) – which you will have to complete if you are studying or training part-time.

Questions 18–19 require you to provide precise details of when you are available for work. You have to answer these questions again when you complete the Jobseeker’s Agreement at your first interview. You should refer to the guidance given in the next chapter on how to complete these questions for the Agreement (see page *) when you complete this section of the ES2.

Questions 20–22 ask where you are willing to look for work, what driving qualifications you have and whether you have your own transport. Say where you are prepared to look for work, but make sure that you have a reasonable chance of finding work in these areas. The adviser will want you to define the area, regardless of size, and will want you to specify other areas you are prepared to work in. A reasonable answer to this question will depend on what kind of job you want, what skills and qualifications you have, where you live, what wages you expect, what public transport is like and whether you have your own transport.

Advisers are told that "in most cases it would be unreasonable to expect you to travel for more than 1 hour in each direction by public transport to get to work" (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 287, q20). Travel of less than 1 hour each way does not usually count as "good cause" for declining a job offer. However, some claimants (e.g. those with mobility problems) can refuse work with travelling time of less than 1 hour (see pages * and * for more details).

You must have your "own transport in cases where [you] may be looking for a job where this is a pre-requisite for employment". In addition, if a "lack of transport prevents [you] from having reasonable prospects of obtaining work" this may raise doubts about your availability for work (JSA LOA, ch 2, para 287, q22).

Questions 23–24 ask you to tick which activities you will undertake to help you get back to work. These question are asked again (in even more detail) in the Jobseeker’s Agreement. You should refer to the guidance given in the next chapter on how to complete the jobseeking questions in the Agreement (see page *) when you complete this section of the ES2 form. However, at this stage the ES does accept that "if you are not sure how you are going to look for work", that this will be discussed later when you complete the Jobseeker’s Agreement at your first interview.

Question 25 asks if there is any information you require from the ES to help your jobsearch. Some of your answers to this question could be used later to suggest that you go on a Government scheme or that you examine the possibility of taking up low-paid work with the help of an in-work benefit.

Breaking your JSA claim temporarily

Waiting period, linking rule and breaking your claim

You are normally not paid JSA for the first 3 days of unemployment if you are making a "new claim" for JSA (JSA Regs, reg 46). However, this does not apply (and you will be paid JSA from day one) if your claim for JSA begins within 12 weeks of you claiming Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Invalid Care Allowance (JSA Regs, reg 46(1)(a)).

In addition, the JSA "linking rule" says that if two or more claims for JSA are broken by not more than 12 weeks, then these periods are linked together to form one jobseeking period and you do not have to serve the 3 waiting days when you sign on again (JSA Regs, regs 47 & 48). This may be significant if you break your claim regularly for short periods to take up temporary work.

Other circumstances which interrupt two spells of unemployment may also result in them being linked together in this way to form one "period of unemployment" and in these cases the interruption can be longer than 12 weeks. You do not have to serve the 3-day waiting period if between the two spells of unemployment you have been (JSA Regs, reg 48(2)):

Renewing the ES2 form

If you break your JSA claim for less than 12 weeks you may not need to complete the ES2 form again. Instead, it can simply be "renewed" by you and the ES adviser signing the declarations on page 14 of the form. However, this will only be allowed if your "availability for work, job goals and jobsearch intentions are the same as stated in [your] last [Jobseeker’s] Agreement" (JSA NJI, ch 3, para 159). You will be allowed to renew the ES2 in this way only once during any "period of unemployment" (see above). If you break your claim for more than 12 weeks, you will have to fill out a new ES2.