Welfare Rights OfficerJob Description:
Welfare rights officers give support and free advice to the public.Job Category:
What you will do:
In this role you could:
- check clients are claiming all the benefits they are entitled to
- help people fill in forms
- help clients get ready for appeals
- speak on behalf of clients at appeal tribunals
- work with benefits agencies and other organisations
- refer clients to other services
- keep confidential records
- learn about relevant laws and welfare reforms
- publicise your service or welfare campaigns
- train staff and volunteers
- knowledge of psychology & sociology
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
As well as:
- customer service skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
To become a welfare rights officer, specific subjects are not typically required. However, having a strong educational background in relevant areas can be beneficial. Welfare rights officers help individuals access social welfare benefits and services. While specific subjects are not mandatory, here are some subjects that can be helpful:
- English Language: Strong communication skills, including written and verbal communication, are essential for understanding clients’ needs and preparing appeals or applications.
- Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for calculating financial information related to welfare benefits and ensuring accuracy in documentation.
- Law or Legal Studies (if available): Courses related to law or legal studies can provide valuable knowledge about the legal aspects of welfare benefits and appeals.
- Social Sciences: Courses in subjects like sociology or psychology can provide an understanding of social issues and the challenges faced by clients.
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT): Proficiency in using computer software for research, documentation, and communication with clients and government agencies can be valuable.
While specific subjects are not mandatory, having a general education that includes strong communication skills, basic math skills, and an understanding of social issues can be advantageous for a career as a welfare rights officer.
To pursue a career as a welfare rights officer, you can consider the following steps:
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could complete a revenues and welfare benefits practitioner higher apprenticeship if you’re working for a local authority or advice organisation.
This apprenticeship will typically take 12 to 18 months to complete.
You could start as an admin assistant with an advice organisation and work your way up with further training in welfare rights.
Many people start by volunteering in an advice centre.
As a volunteer you would receive training in interviewing skills and advice topics like welfare benefits and housing. It can take between 6 and 12 months to get enough experience to apply for jobs.
You can apply for jobs if you have experience of supporting people facing difficult situations, for example, those with money, family or housing problems.
A qualification in counselling, legal work or advice and guidance could be useful, though your employer may give you on-the-job training.
The ability to speak a second language or a qualification in Sign Language could be helpful for some jobs.
Working Hours and Environment:
Typically you could work 37 to 40 hours a week, occasionally including evenings or weekends.
You could work in the community, at a client’s home, in a court, in a public or private hospital or at an outreach centre.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could move into specialist advice and casework, or be promoted to a team leader or management post.