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9 Welfare benefits

pdf iconDownload Welfare benefits (PDF File, 640kb)


1. Introduction

2. Who can claim benefits?

3. If you have a low income

4. If you are having a baby or adopting a child

5. If you have children to look after

6. If you are unemployed

7. If you are ill and can´t work

8. If you have a disability

9. If you are just starting work

10. If you have retired or are about to retire

11. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies

12. Where do I claim?
Different agencies and authorities are responsible for different benefits. You must get in touch with the right one to apply for each benefit. See 'Further help' for their phone numbers and other details.

Jobcentre Plus
Jobcentre Plus deals with most claims from people of working age. You should usually start your claim by phoning Jobcentre Plus on the national freephone number (see 'Further help'). If you are calling from a mobile phone, and have to pay for the call, you can ask Jobcentre Plus to call you back.

The date of the claim is the date of your phone call. It’s best to start you claim by phone, but if you don’t want to phone, you can either:

  • go to your local Jobcentre Plus office to ask for help; or
  • download claim forms or make an online claim (for most benefits) from the Directgov website – see ‘Further help’ for the address. But if you get your claim form without contacting Jobcentre Plus first, the date of your claim will be the date the office receives your form.

The Pension, Disability and Carers Service
The Pension, Disability and Carers Service deals with claims for State Pension and Pension Credit for people over 60, and with claims for Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Carer’s Allowance.

You will usually be sent a claim form for State Pension before you reach state pension age. You can also start your claim for State Pension or Pension Credit by phoning the Pension, Disability and Carers Service. Staff there can help you to complete a claim form over the phone.

To claim other benefits from the Pension, Disability and Carers Service:

  • for Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance, call the Benefit Enquiry Line; or
  • for Carer’s Allowance, call the Carer’s Allowance Unit.

Alternatively, you can download a claim form for these benefits or fill in an online claim form at the Directgov website (see ‘Further help’ for the address). But if you make a claim without contacting the Pension, Disability and Carers Service, the Benefit Enquiry Line or Carer’s Allowance Unit first, the date of your claim will be the date the appropriate office receives your claim.

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC)
HMRC deals with:

  • tax credits, through its Tax Credit Office;
  • Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance, through its Child Benefit Office; and
  • questions about National Insurance; and
  • the Child Trust Fund

You can get claim forms for tax credits, Child Benefit and Guardian's Allowance from:

  • any DWP office - for example, a Jobcentre;
  • HMRC enquiry centres;
  • HMRC website; and
  • the telephone helplines for tax credits and Child Benefit.

If you are having a baby, you should receive a Child Benefit pack in hospital with information and a claim form. If you don't receive a pack, ask your midwife or health visitor.

Your local authority (council)
Your local council deals with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. You can get a claim form from your local authority Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit Department.

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency
Claims for War Pensions or for financial help from the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme are made to this agency, which is part of the Ministry of Defence, though most military service organisations will also be able to help you with claims. See the Gurkha Free Legal Advice leaflet ‘Veterans’ for more information.

13. What must I do when I claim?

14. What if I disagree with a decision about my claim?

15. What if I´ve been badly treated?

16. The Human Rights Act

17. Further help

18. About this leaflet


This leaflet is published by the Gurkha Free Legal Advice (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.

Leaflet Version: June 2008

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