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Welfare rights officer Welfare benefits adviser, welfare rights adviser, Citizens Advice adviser

Welfare rights officers give support and free advice to the public.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £21,000 to £29,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but some employers will want you to have GCSEs or equivalent in English and maths.

A degree in a relevant subject, like social policy or community work may be useful.

At least one year's volunteering experience in an advice centre like Citizens Advice may also be helpful.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

You'll need clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

Speaking a second language or holding a full driving licence could be helpful.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • presentation skills
  • maths and IT skills
  • sensitivity and the ability to build trust
  • negotiation skills

3. What you'll do

You'll be dealing with people face-to-face, over the telephone or by letter or email. Specialist advisers work with one type of client group like carers, or advise on one topic like housing.

Your day-to-day 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
  • explaining who can claim
  • working with benefits agencies and other organisations
  • referring clients
  • keeping confidential records
  • learning about relevant laws and welfare reforms
  • publicising your service or campaigns

You may also be asked to train staff and volunteers.

4. Salary

Starter: £21,000 to £25,000

Experienced: £26,000 to £28000

Highly Experienced: up to £29,000

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You'll usually work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally work in the evening or on Saturdays.

You'll be based in a public advice centre. You may also travel around your local area to attend tribunals, visit outreach centres or clients.

Some welfare rights officers are part of a team based in the community, employed by hospitals, housing associations or charities.

6. Career path and progression

With experience, you could move into specialist advice and casework, or be promoted to a team leader or management post.

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Last updated: 18 August 2017