Welfare benefits adviser, welfare rights adviser, Citizens Advice adviser
Welfare rights officers give support and free advice to the public.
Salary range: £21,000 to £29,000
How to become a welfare rights officer
You can get into this job through:
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could complete a revenue and welfare benefits adviser higher apprenticeship if you’re working for a local authority or advice organisation.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
- Experience in related work may also be accepted
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.
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 British Sign Language could be helpful.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- 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
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
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
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.