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What's Benefits Owl all about?


This site has one main purpose (apart from advertising my other services):

Benefits Owl aims to to give clear information, in plain English, about common benefit issues.

However, here comes an important warning…

Benefits are complicated. Really complicated. If you don’t understand them, don’t feel bad: they are very hard to understand. Click here if you want to know one reason why.

There’s already some very good information around about benefits. For example, one of the main resources available to benefit advisers and claimants is the Child Poverty Action Group Handbook. It covers pretty much everything anyone needs to know about all the benefits available today. It about 1800 pages long and contains roughly 4 million words (that’s about five times more words than in the Bible).

I have to be realistic. I can’t compete with that. And I don’t need to, because it’s already been written!

But from my experience as an advisor at various advice agencies I have learned that, in practice, it’s the same problems and questions that come up, again and again. So I've decided to concentrate on these.

Because of my limited resources I've also had to make a difficult decision not to deal with some situations (yet): the main examples of these are:

But from now on it’s up to you!

If there is a subject you think I need to cover, let me know, even if it’s one of the areas I've just said I'm not dealing with. If I get enough requests for a particular issue I may realise that I need to write about it. Please note, however, that I cannot respond to individual queries

Some Helpful Hints...

I put some information in boxes, as follows:

icon-warning1.jpgWARNING BOXES: These contain warnings of things you need to be careful about.

icon-key1.jpgKEYBOXES: These contain key information, or a useful way to look at something, or something like this.

icon-example1.jpgEXAMPLE BOXES: These provide examples that might help make something easier to understand

Sometimes I include some calculations - you may find these useful, but if you don't feel up to looking through these it's fine to skip them!

Oh, and finally:

This is not an opinion website. I'm here to give information, not to go on about what I don’t like about the benefits situation. However, sometimes I will be talking about something that annoys me so much that I can’t keep from expressing an opinion...

If you want to know what I really think about things, check out my blog at