- Help vulnerable people access welfare benefits and other support
- You'll need excellent communication skills and the ability and awareness of welfare issues
- Progress into team leader roles or into specialist advice or casework
As a welfare rights officer, you'll provide advice, support and guidance to people who may be experiencing difficulties and help them understand and access the services and benefits that they are entitled to. This is rewarding work where you'll be dealing with people face-to-face, online, over the telephone or by letter or email. Some specialist advisers work with one type of client group like carers, or advise on one topic like housing, but you could also provide general advice across a range of issues.
- Checking clients are claiming all the benefits they can
- Helping people fill in forms
- Helping clients get ready for appeals
- Taking the place of clients at appeal tribunals
- Explaining who can claim
- Working with benefits agencies and other organisations
- Referring clients
- Keeping confidential records
- Learning about relevant laws and welfare reforms
- Publicising your service or campaigns
- You may also be asked to train staff and volunteers
You may occasionally work in the evening or on Saturdays and you'll normally be based in a public advice centre. You may also travel around your local area to attend tribunals, visit outreach centres or clients.
Some welfare rights officers are part of a team based in the community, employed by hospitals, housing associations or charities.
There are no set requirements, and you could start as an admin assistant with an advice organisation and work your way up with further training in welfare rights.
You'll need presentation skills, maths and IT skills, sensitivity and the ability to build trust, and negotiation skills.
A degree in a relevant subject, like social policy or community work may be useful but is not essential.
At least one year's volunteering experience in an advice centre like Citizens Advice may also be helpful as you would receive training in interviewing skills and advice topics like welfare benefits and housing.
You could get into this job through an apprenticeship like a revenue and welfare benefits adviser higher apprenticeship if you're working for a local authority or advice organisation.
You'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) - your employer will normally arrange this.
Speaking a second language, or a qualification in British Sign Language could also be helpful.
With experience, you could move into specialist advice and casework, or be promoted to a team leader or management post.