Welfare rights adviser: job description

Welfare rights adviser: job description

Welfare rights advisers work in confidential settings, providing independent information and advice to individuals about social security benefits.
As well as good communication skills, you will need to be sympathetic, mature and patient.

What does a welfare rights adviser do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

The work is challenging and varied with duties that range from interviewing clients and writing reports to assessing benefit entitlements and providing legal representation at tribunals. Other responsibilities include:

  • maintaining records
  • preparing and distributing publicity materials and displays
  • giving presentations
  • interpreting legislation
  • researching and negotiating cases
  • suggesting appropriate courses of action to clients and liaising with relevant departments and organisations

Typical employers of welfare rights advisers

  • Local authorities
  • Housing associations
  • Legal firms
  • Universities and similar institutions
  • Voluntary and charitable organisations

Vacancies are advertised in local, regional and national newspapers, Opportunities, the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaus (NACAB) mailings and the Federation of Independent Advice Centres' fortnightly job lists as well as their online equivalents. Speculative approaches to employers are advisable, particularly for work experience placements.

Qualifications and training required

A minimum of one year's paid or voluntary advice work experience is usually necessary prior to entry into the profession. This can be gained by working in a local advice centre, citizens advice bureau or students union welfare office. Most people enter the profession as volunteers. A degree in law, social work, politics, public administration or social sciences can be helpful.

Key skills for welfare rights advisers

  • Good verbal and written communication skills
  • Maturity
  • Confidence
  • Patience