Welfare rights officer

Welfare rights officerYou’ll advise people around matters relating to legislation such as housing benefits, disability living allowances, employment benefits and rent support.

Welfare rights officers could provide a wide range of support, or might specialise in one area such as housing, or with one client group such as carers.

You’ll usually work in a public advice centre or for a charity, community group or housing association. 

Your role might include:

  • checking people are claiming all the benefits they can get
  • helping people fill in forms
  • working with benefits agencies and other organisations
  • learning about relevant laws and welfare reforms
  • enabling people to represent themselves where possible, or speaking on their behalf.

 

Everyone working in social care needs English, number, digital and employability skills including team work and problem solving skills. What core skills do I need to work in social care outlines some of the skills you need and has short activities to help you think about transferable skills from your previous experiences.

There are also some specific skills needed to work in this role. These include:

  • presentation skills
  • negotiation skills
  • digital skills to do online research
  • good English skills to understand legislation and laws. 

You don’t necessarily need any qualifications to become a welfare rights officer.

If you’re applying for an entry level role such as a welfare rights admin or assistant, your employer might ask that you have qualifications showing good English and number skills such as GCSE A-C in English and maths. It might also be helpful to have a social care qualification such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care, or a relevant qualification in policy or community work.

It might be useful to have experience working in a similar role or with people who need care and support. You could gain this experience through a work placement, from your personal life, through volunteering (for example in a citizens advice centre) or as part of an apprenticeship. 

For more experienced roles you might need a qualification or a degree in a relevant subject such as community development or social policy. 

 

If you’re interested in working as a social prescriber, there’s lots of advice about finding a role on the Starting your career page.

Welfare rights officers tend to be employed by local authorities, community groups or housing associations. You could look on their websites to find vacancies or use an online job search.

You could also apply for an apprenticeship which means you’ll gain experience, do a qualification and earn a wage. This is a great route into a welfare rights officer role; you could find vacancies on the National Apprenticeship Service website

 

When you start in your role you should do an induction which includes training necessary for your role such as health and safety, risk assessments and safeguarding adults.

When in your role you could do a vocational qualification such as a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Health and Social Care or a qualification in policy or community support. There are also lots of continuing professional development qualification or training to help you progress.

You could move into specialist advice, for example disability benefits, or progress into management roles for which a level 3, 4 or 5 qualification would be useful.