The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) – The agency is responsible for welfare and pension policy and is a key player in tackling child poverty. It delivers its customer services through various operational organisations.
The Disability and Carers Service – The Disability and Carers Service provides financial support for customers claiming disability benefits and their carers including Disability Living Allowance and Carer’s Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Vaccine Damage Payments.
Jobcentre Plus – Jobcentre Plus provides services that support people of working age from welfare into work, and helps employers to fill their vacancies.
The DWP funds the
Child Maintenance Options service – to provide information and support to help parents make a child maintenance arrangement that meets their needs. It also provides information on other issues parents might face in making maintenance arrangements, such as housing, legal and money concerns. It signposts people to organisations that provide specialist help and advice.
The Department’s website also runs a newsroom providing information on all DWP issues such as Employment, Pensions, CSA, Health and Safety, Benefits and Welfare Reform, Poverty and Disability. It has a wide ranging publications section.
The Social Security Agency (SSA) – The Agency assesses, pays and gives advice and information about social security benefits. It processes benefit reviews and appeals, prevents and detects benefit fraud, prosecutes offenders and recovers incorrectly paid benefits.
Details of the law relating to Social Security and Child Support – can be found on the Department of Social Development’s website.
Social Security and Child Support Tribunal (SSCS) – deals with disputes about Income Support, Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Employment Support Allowance, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance and Retirement Pensions. It also deals with disputes about Child Support, Tax Credits, Statutory Sick Pay and Statutory Maternity Pay, Compensation Recovery Scheme/Road Traffic(NHS) charges, Vaccine Damage and decisions on Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit. It provides leaflets about the appeals process. The website offers a viewfinder service which locates your nearest tribunal venue, provides a map and directions.
Appeals to the Social Security and Child Support Tribunal – The Tribunal’s website provides information about appealing against a decision can also be found at the Tribunal’s website.
Free Representation Unit (FRU) – The unit acts as an advocacy service dealing with all aspects of Social Security law that goes before a Tribunal, providing representation before the First-tier and Upper Tribunals. It does not accept referrals direct from members of the public, only from their referral agencies, Citizens Advice Bureaux, Law Centres, and some Solicitors. Some of the referral agencies are listed on their website. Their advocates are volunteers from a variety of legal backgrounds, from people in the final year of their law degree to very experienced barristers and solicitors.
Care Standards Tribunal – The Tribunal considers appeals against decisions made by the Secretary of State to restrict or bar an individual from working with children or vulnerable adults, and decisions to cancel, vary or refuse registration of certain health, childcare and social care provision. It handles appeals regarding registration from child minders, care home providers, children’s home providers, independent healthcare providers, providers of an agency that delivers fostering or adoption services, social workers, those barred from teaching or working with children by the Secretary of State for Education and Skills and those who have been barred from working with vulnerable adults by the Secretary of State for Health.
National Association of Citizen’s Advice Bureaux – The service helps people resolve their legal, money and other problems by providing free, independent and confidential advice and by influencing policymakers. Its website contains reports, newsletters, leaflets and press releases. It also contains details of its training courses which cover welfare benefits and money advice. These are designed for people working or volunteering as advisers.
The Pensions Service – The Service provides information on pension eligibility, claims and payments. The website allows claimants to claim their state pension online.
State Pension – The Government website provides a State Pension and a Pension Credit calculator. It explains Pension Credit and how to claim your Pension. It provides details of Pension Centres, how to get a State Pension Statement, deferring your State Pension and other matters related to Pensions.
The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) – This is an independent non-profit organisation grant-aided by the Department for Work and Pensions, that provides free information, advice and guidance on the whole spectrum of state, company, personal and stakeholder schemes. It also helps members of the public who have a problem, complaint or dispute with their occupational or private pension arrangement. The service is free and provided by a nationwide network of volunteer advisers, drawn from the pensions industry, who are supported and augmented by technical and administrative staff based in London. It will assist in trying to resolve a dispute. Where this fails and an adviser believes a referral may be beneficial, the Service will help present a complaint to the Pensions Ombudsman.
The Pensions Ombudsman – The Ombudsman investigates complaints about how pensions schemes are run. It is free and open to people who have a complaint against those responsible for the running or the administration of pension schemes. It has similar powers to a court of law. The website explains who can complain and what the Ombudsman can and cannot investigate. It contains details of its Determinations, its formal decisions as well as its numerous publications.
ageuk – This organisation provides lots of information and advice about pensions including a pension calculator, a guide to help work out when someone can afford to retire, information about annuities, how to track down lost pensions and their Gifted Housing Service.