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9 Welfare benefits

1. Introduction

There are many different benefits available, depending on your needs and your circumstances. But you may not know what you are entitled to, or how to apply for a benefit, or what to do if you think you have been unfairly turned down for a benefit. This leaflet explains how the benefits system works at the moment but more changes are planned later in 2019.

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There is information on:

2. If you have a low income

3. If you are having a baby or adopting a child

4. If you have children to look after

5. If you are unemployed

6. If you are ill and can't work

7. If you have a disability

8. If you are just starting work

9. If you have retired or are about to retire

10. If your husband, wife or civil partner dies

11. Where do I claim?

12. What must I do when I claim?

13. What if I disagree with a decision about my claim?

14. What if I've been badly treated?

15. The Human Rights Act

16. Further help

17. About this leaflet

Most people in the UK are likely to qualify for some kind of welfare benefit or tax credit at one time or other, but many people miss out because they don’t know what they can claim. Here we explain the different types of benefits and tax credits, and how you can work out whether you may get them.

Benefits and tax credits are to support people in need. There are different types of benefit for different types of need. If you think you may be able to get any of the benefits described, you can get more detailed leaflets from the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC, formerly the Inland Revenue) explaining:

  • how they work;
  • whether you qualify; and
  • how much they are worth.

See ‘Further help’ for contact details.

This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Rachel Hadwen, a specialist in welfare rights.

Leaflet Version: April 2019

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