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Wednesday, 3 October 2012

How to claim benefit

The government has a range of benefits to provide opportunities and support. These are handled by various departments and agencies. If you are entitled to any of these benefits, you will need to claim them from the right place. Find out how to claim the different types of benefit.

The different types of benefit

Benefits are available for people of working age, for pensioners, for families and children, and for disabled people and their carers. Each of these areas is handled by different departments or parts of departments. Making a claim from the right area will make sure you get your benefit as quickly as possible.

Benefits are divided into four groups:

  • benefits for people of working age
  • benefits for people who have retired or who are planning to retire
  • benefits for families and children
  • benefits for disabled people and carers

Benefits for people of working age

If you are looking for work (or are in low paid work) you can get financial help and support from Jobcentre Plus and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Benefits if you have retired or are planning to retire

Everyone is entitled to a basic State Pension, and many people of pensionable age are entitled to other benefits. These are now administered by The Pension Service.

Benefits for families and children

If you're responsible for a child, you can normally get Child Benefit for them. Additional support is available for families who have particular requirements, such as children with special needs, lone parent families, expecting a baby and so on. This help is provided by different sections of the Department for Work and Pensions, and HMRC. Jobcentre Plus will help you find the right department to answer any questions you may have.

Benefits for disabled people and carers

There is a range of local and central government support available for people who are sick, or who are disabled. There is also support for the people who care for them. The support tends to vary according to the nature of illness or disability: for example, whether it is long-term, whether you were in work when you became ill or disabled, and whether the illness involves a stay in hospital or a care home.

Who to ask about your benefit

Jobcentre Plus will help you with any questions you have about your benefits situation.

To find your local pensions office, use the link below.

You can find contact details for benefits administered by HMRC, such as tax credits and Child Benefit, using the following link.

Making a new or repeat claim for benefit

You can now ring Jobcentre Plus on a new number to make a benefit claim.

Phone: 0800 0 55 66 88

Text phone: 0800 0 23 48 88 if you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech difficulties.

Calls are free from a landline. Charges may apply when calling from a mobile phone, but Jobcentre Plus will arrange to call you back if you ask.

Phone lines are open from 8.00 am to 6.00 pm, Monday to Friday.

The call will take about 40 minutes. You should call from:

  • home, if possible; or
  • from somewhere where you are comfortable and where other people cannot overhear your personal information

You will speak to an operator who will guide you through making a new claim or renewing the details of a claim that has recently closed. During the call you will be asked to provide information including:

  • your National Insurance number
  • details of your rent or mortgage
  • details of your past or present employment
  • details of other income and savings

Please make sure that you have this information handy when you call.

The operator will tell you what will happen next with your claim. For example, they may make you an appointment to see an adviser at your nearest Jobcentre Plus office to help with your search for work. They can also tell you who to contact if you have a question about your benefit.

Jobcentre Plus can only accept calls from the person who is making the claim, unless you have made previous arrangements for someone to act on your behalf.

Do it online

You can claim Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance or Incapacity Benefit online.

You can claim Jobseeker's Allowance online.

For the following benefits you don't need to meet a personal adviser unless you want to or you are claiming other benefits through Jobcentre Plus:

  • bereavement benefits
  • Carers Allowance
  • Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit
  • Maternity Allowance

Additional links

Benefits advice online

Get benefits advice by using this online tool to answer questions about your situation

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