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9 Welfare benefits

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1. Introduction

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

If you are unhappy about how you or your family is treated in the benefit and appeal system, you may be able to challenge the rules on benefits themselves (rather than the actual decision that has been taken, or the way your case has been handled). The European Convention on Human Rights gives you many rights, including a right to:

  • peacefully enjoy your possessions. These can include benefits based on contributions you have made, such as National Insurance contributions;
  • enjoy respect for family life; and
  • have a fair hearing in any dispute.

This is a complicated step to take, and certainly not one you should take alone. Apart from anything else, these rights are part of a fairly new law, the Human Rights Act, much of which hasn’t been tested in the courts. For more information on this, see the CLS Direct leaflet, ‘The Human Rights Act’.

16. Further help

17. About this leaflet

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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