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National sources of advice / representation?

Florine Member Posts: 49 Connected

Over the past year or so, I've seen numerous suggestions on various forums suggesting that people turn to their local "advice centre" or similar words for help with their benefits claims, but it's actually a very hit-and-miss thing to Google on.  Not only because the amount of resources available varies so much across the country, but also because optimising your search terms is incredibly difficult.  I wondered if there is actually an extensive list somewhere of people/organisations who can help with this?

If not, I'd start by suggesting:

- Citizens' Advice Bureau

- local council Welfare Rights Officer

- charities related to whatever conditions you have




  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    You’ve missed out which is the most obvious resource of all the above. 

    You can add in the law centres network and searches for independent advice centres. If you have a potential test case you could also add in CPAG. Also there are still Unemployed Workers Centres dotted about. 

    It’s important also to distinguish between advice and representation as well as to understand the difference between first and second tier advice. Less organisations will now help with form filling because there’s so much information about this on the net albeit very hit and miss. Almost no-one helps with forms for means-tested benefits although there is the limited Help To Claim scheme through Citizens Advice for Universal Credit. 

    Many organisations offer representation on paper only e.g. I recently came across a LA “Advice and Information” service where a claimant thought the person at their appeal was their rep. but that person said they were only there as an observer. You need to be very clear about what you want/need/expect. Most Citizens Advice talk about offering representation when they just mean putting in a written submission on your behalf and not turning up on the day. Nevertheless some CAs do still represent. There are lots of myths about the alleged paucity of advice. 

    Look out also for individuals who charge and query why and what you’re getting, especially as there may be free advice available of equal or better quality. Similarly, watch out for anyone who claims high or 100% success rates. They’re either cherry picking only cases which would have won anyway or manipulating their stats. 

    First tier advice is to claimants. Second tier advice is to those advising claimants. Local authorities may offer one or both. 

    And no, there is no extensive list, it would be impossible. 
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,557 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you very much for sharing this with us @Florine

  • Florine
    Florine Member Posts: 49 Connected
    You’ve missed out which is the most obvious resource of all the above. And no, there is no extensive list, it would be impossible. 
    Really?  Looking at their site, I would have had absolutely no idea that they could be of any help.
  • Florine
    Florine Member Posts: 49 Connected
    Ah, I think you mean this one: :)
  • mikehughescq
    mikehughescq Posts: 8,845 Connected
    I do. That must have been an autocorrect as I copied and pasted the url. Thanks anyway. 


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