This site is designed to explain benefit problems in plain English, but doesn't cover every possible situation or all the benefits available (though it will get bigger!). And, of course, it cannot give you advice or guidance about your own particular circumstances, nor can it take on your case for you. So here are some other resources you find helpful.
I've divided the page into the following categories:
- People who may be able to give advice in person
- Other websites that give information about benefits
- Books that you may find useful
Just because I mention an organisation this doesn't guarantee that they have a centre near you, nor does it commit them to helping you. Also I can't guarantee how good their advice will be.
People who may be able to give advice in person
- Citizens Advice Bureaux: you can find whether there is one near you on www.citizensadvice.org.uk
- Law Centres: check if there is one near you on www.lawcentres.org.uk - please note that not all law centres give advice about benefits
- Your local authority (council) may have an advice agency.
In general you should not have to pay for advice in person. If you are asked for money beware!
Other websites that give information about benefits
All the sites above are charities: their purpose is to help people like you.
However you may also get useful information from the government themselves.
- The government has designed the following site for the general public: www.gov.uk/browse/benefits
- If you want to look at things in more detail, you need to go to the DWP's own website, on www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/#benefits. I have used these pages when writing this site. The following pages are particularly relevant:
- www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/decision-makers-guide/ - this is where DWP staff go to when they don't understand something (yes, they find it hard too!)
- www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/advice-for-decision-making/ - this is a new decision makers' guide for the new benefits like Universal Credit and PIP.
- www.dwp.gov.uk/publications/specialist-guides/law-volumes/the-law-relating-to-social-security/ - this is the actual law that underlies the benefits I've talked about.
Books that you may find useful
Every benefits advisor (including me) worth his or her salt has a copy of the following book next to them:
- "Welfare benefits and tax credits handbook", published by the Child
Poverty Action Group. To get it check out www.cpag.org.uk/bookshop/wbtch.
It's expensive (£45 as of June 2013), but there is a discount for some
If you're not ready for that, either because of its complexity or its price, a good alternative is the following book:
- "Disability Rights Handbook", published by Disability Rights UK (website www.disabilityrightsuk.org). As of June 2013, it is £29.99, or £15 if you're on some benefits. You don't have to be disabled to benefit from it.