Welfare rights officer

Alternative titles for this job include Welfare benefits adviser, welfare rights adviser, Citizens Advice adviser

Welfare rights officers give support and free advice to the public.

Average salary (a year)

£21,000 Starter

to

£29,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

37 to 40 a week

You could work

evenings / weekends occasionally

How to become a Welfare rights officer

You can get into this job through:

  • working towards this role
  • volunteering
  • applying directly if you have relevant experience

Work

You could start as an admin assistant with an advice organisation and work your way up with further training in welfare rights.

You'll usually need GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent qualifications, in English and maths.

Volunteering and experience

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 search for volunteering opportunities on the Do-it website.

Direct application

You can apply for jobs if you have experience of supporting people facing difficult situations, for example, those with money, family or housing problems.

More information

Career tips

A qualification in counselling, legal work or advice and guidance could also be useful, though your employer may give you on-the-job training.

The ability to speak a second language or a qualification in British Sign Language could be helpful.

Further information

Citizens Advice and AdviceUK have more details about working in this career.

 

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to work well with others
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • Being able to use a computer terminal or hand-held device may be beneficial for this job.

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your daily tasks may include:

  • 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
  • working with benefits agencies and other organisations
  • referring clients
  • keeping confidential records
  • learning about relevant laws and welfare reforms
  • publicising your service or campaigns
  • training staff and volunteers

Working environment

You could work in the community, at a client's home, in a court, in an NHS or private hospital or at an outreach centre.

Your working environment may be humid and hot.

Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into specialist advice and casework, or be promoted to a team leader or management post.

Training opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Welfare rights officer right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Certificate in Counselling: Approaches to Couples Counselling Level 4

  • Provider: SHREWSBURY COLLEGES GROUP
  • Start date: 01 April 2019
  • Location: Shrewsbury

Counselling CPCAB Level 3 Certificate

  • Provider: Richmond And Hillcroft Adult And Community College
  • Start date: 18 February 2019
  • Location: Richmond

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