4. Welfare and benefits
We recognise that benefit entitlement can form a significant backdrop to someone’s financial life and that it is important for money guidance practitioners to be aware of its implications.
We also need to recognise that the welfare landscape has changed significantly due to wide scale benefit reforms, increased demand, complexity and scale.
In areas that are regulated (such as debt and pensions), this framework goes up to but does not cross those boundaries. In the case of Welfare and Benefits, in the absence of a regulated boundary but taking into account the specialist nature and complexity of the area, the framework has been restricted to those areas general money guidance practitioners are likely to cover and we link to existing relevant frameworks that cover benefits and welfare in more detail.
|4.1.1||Awareness of the main benefits available, covering the life events relevant to your customers (e.g. births, deaths, bringing up children, divorce/separation, job loss, retirement, illness and disability, caring)|
|4.1.2||Awareness of which agencies and offices administer different types of benefits (e.g. DWP, HMRC, Local Authorities etc.)|
|4.1.3||Awareness of which organisations offer specialist benefits advice and tools for benefits calculations, familiarity with websites and how to refer customers to them|
|4.1.4||Awareness of Appointeeships|
|4.1.5||Identify any vulnerabilities in customers which may prove a barrier to making or managing a successful benefit claim (or dealing with a benefits problem)|
|4.1.6||Signpost to relevant sources of support (e.g. literacy and numeracy, mental health, substance misuse, physical mobility, digital confidence and access, economic or domestic abuse)|
|4.1.7||Awareness of scams and what to do if a customer has been the subject of a scam|
|4.2.1||Knowledge of the application process for welfare benefits and the basic information required (e.g. which forms of ID are acceptable, which banks offer fee-free basic bank accounts, how to provide proof of address etc.)|
|4.2.2||Knowledge of the financial considerations of making and managing a Universal Credit claim (e.g. payment in arrears, needing a transactional bank account, managing five-week wait for first payment etc.)|
|4.2.3||Knowledge of other government and non-government sources of support (e.g. Budgeting loans and advances, local welfare assistance funds, grants and discounts etc.)|
|4.2.4||Knowledge of the range of government benefits and statutory payments available and the ability to use this to explore a customer’s situation to give an indication of the benefits that are likely to be available to them|
|4.2.5||Understanding of the main eligibility criteria of benefit entitlement, appropriate to the individual and how a change in their circumstance can affect this|
|4.2.6||Knowledge of where to signpost people to start benefits application, appropriate to the individual|
|4.2.7||Understanding of the principles of Universal Credit|
|4.2.8||Understanding of the process involved and impact on the customer when moving from legacy benefits onto UC and where to signpost for further support|
|4.2.9||Understanding of how the principle of means testing affects benefit eligibility and entitlement (e.g. how total household income and savings will affect benefits)|
|4.2.10||Understanding of potential triggers within the benefits system for increased financial hardship and to explain to the customer how to mitigate (e.g. coping with gaps in benefit payments, sanctions, drop in income from migration to UC etc.)|
|4.2.11||Understanding of how to use benefits calculator tools to assist a customer to get a better sense of how much they are likely to get, check if they will be better or worse off when moving from legacy benefits to UC|
|4.2.12||Signpost to appropriate support for disputing a benefits decision|
Here you will find further information to help meet the competencies in the framework and in doing so your customers too.
It includes relevant training and qualifications to the particular domain (identified by a mapping exercise carried out in 2019). These links are provided for your information and should not be interpreted as approval or endorsement of the materials.
It also includes links to further information on a range of relevant domain topics. Many of these links go to the MAS website, where you can get up to date information on most of the topics along with links to other organisations and sources of support.
This information is by no means exhaustive but our intention is that it will strengthen and grow over the course of the future programme.
We have put together a directory of further information to help you meet the competencies in the framework that will also support the people you help too.
It includes relevant training and qualifications for each domain (identified by a mapping exercise carried out in 2019).
The links to training and qualifications are provided for your information and should not be interpreted as approval or endorsement of the materials. Before signing up, it is important to check the credentials of the organisation if you are not familiar with them.
Things to think about include:
- Will you get professional or recognised accreditation?
- Can you get recommendations from your network?
- Could you negotiate discounts by grouping together with other practitioners?
There are also links to further information on a range of relevant domain topics. Many of these links go to the MAS website, where you can get up to date information along with links to other organisations and sources of support. You can signpost people to these sources or use them as a basis for direct guidance. This information will be very useful for supporting your skills and knowledge in Tiers 1 and 2 technical domains.
Bear in mind this information is intended as a starting point and we plan to add further resources as we become aware of them to create a comprehensive database that will strengthen and grow as the programme develops.
Please do let us know of any training, qualifications or information resources that you use and think would help other practitioners by sending an email to MoneyPractitioners@MaPS.org.uk.
Shelter – Financial Capability for Advisers
Advice UK – Learning to Advise 2019
The Money Advice Trust – Wiseradviser – Introduction to money advice (England & Wales)
The Money Advice Trust – Wiseradviser – Introduction to money advice (Northern Ireland)
The Money Advice Trust – Wiseradviser – Introduction to money advice (Scotland)
Institute of Money Advisers – Universal Credit: The Tricky Bits
Advice NI – Financial Inclusion and Welfare Reform
Money Advice Trust – Wiser Advisor – Benefits overpayment and debt
Money Advice Trust – Wiser Advisor – Universal Credit / Welfare Reform
Information and guidance sources of support
The Money Advice Service – Where people can get further help with benefits
The Money Advice Service – Different types of benefit explained
The Money Advice Service – Bank accounts for benefits payments
The Money Advice Service – Money Manager tool for UC Claimants
The Money Advice Service – Benefit sanctions
Gov.UK – Tools for benefits calculations
Gov.UK – Universal Credit