Welfare rights officer

benefits adviser
Care

Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would give people support and advice on welfare benefits and other areas such as housing, work and money.

You would advise clients face-to-face, over the telephone or by letter or email. You could either be a general adviser, or a specialist who works with one group (such as carers) or advises on one topic, such as housing.

You would:

  • Explain benefit rules and who can claim
  • Check clients are claiming all the benefits they can
  • Help people fill in forms to apply for benefits, tax or pension credits
  • Help clients get ready for appeals
  • Take the place of clients at appeal tribunals
  • Link up benefits agencies and others
  • Let clients know who else can help
  • Manage your own work and records
  • Keep up to date with new laws and welfare reforms

You might sometimes be asked to train staff and volunteers, publicise your work or run campaigns.

You may find the work may stressful at times with a lot of pressure and deadlines, but it can also be very rewarding.

Working conditions

Hours

In a full-time job you would typically work standard office hours with occasional evening or Saturday sessions. Part-time work is often available.

Environment

You could be based in an advice centre open to the public. There may also be some travel around your local area to attend tribunals and visit outreach centres or clients who are unable to visit the office. Some welfare rights officers are part of a team based in the community, employed by hospitals, housing associations or charities.

Travel

A driving licence and car would be useful for some jobs.

UK employment status

Full-time

Part-time

Self employed

Here are some of the skills that people in this job would be most likely to have:

  • Communicating with people
  • Listening to people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Being tactful
  • Presenting to people
  • Working on your own
  • Using computers
  • Planning and organising
  • Time management
  • Working with numbers

Build your skills

Your skills can help you choose the career that’s right for you. You can build your skills through work, study or activities you do in your spare time.

To understand more, have a look at what are my skills?

Keep track of your skills in your account and find the jobs, opportunities and courses that suit you.

Click here to view / add your skills

Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.

Qualifications

There are no set qualifications for this role, but a good general education, knowledge of peoples' rights and the welfare benefits system would be essential. 

Some employers may ask for a degree in social work, social policy or community work (SCQF level 9/10).

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Care
  • Administration
  • ICT
  • Business
  • Religious, moral and philosophical studies
  • Social studies such as modern studies

You will also need

To be approved for membership of the Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme run by Disclosure Scotland.

Helpful to have

  • Relevant work experience and qualifications from organisation providing welfare rights advice such as local authorities, Citizens Advice or Shelter Scotland are very important when seeking work
  • Voluntary work in a related field
  • Qualifications and experience that show caring for people, for the community and an understanding of rights and benefits

A driving licence is useful and may be essential for some roles.