Advice about benefits - Welfare Rights Team

Who are the Welfare Rights Team?

The Welfare Rights Team is part of Cornwall Council's Children, Families and Adults Directorate.

They have extensive knowledge of and experience in dealing with Welfare Benefits Law and regulations and provide the following services in Cornwall:  

  1. An Advice Service: to help people deal with all aspects of the welfare benefit system ranging from carrying out benefit entitlement checks, understanding qualifying conditions, explaining the application and assessment processes for disability benefits and what to do when they receive a decision they disagree with.
  2. Social Security Appeal Tribunals:

a) advice and support to help people through the social security challenge processes, and

b) help people to prepare cases for appeal tribunals ie. explaining the legal principles of a case, help to gather supporting evidence and preparation of written submission for appeal tribunal panels.

All support and advice is provided by telephone, email and post - authority will be needed (verbally or written) to discuss a person's benefit affairs with someone else eg. family member, friend, support worker, social worker, etc.

Appeal Tribunal cases will involve home visits due to the more complex nature of the work.

  1. Non welfare benefits issues: we only deal with the welfare benefit system.  If you have problems with debt, accommodation, we will redirect you to appropriate agencies.  There is a list of relevant agencies at the bottom of this page.
  2. Form filling:

a) there is a high demand for home visits to assist people to complete applications forms. The Welfare Rights Team do not have the resources to provide a 'form-filling' service

b) Due to the cuts in the national welfare benefit system by central Government and reductions in resources in the voluntary sector, the demand for help with 'form-filling' has increased to unprecedented levels. The demand is usually for home visits to assist people to complete application forms. Requests for this type of help usually come from people who are applying for 'sickness/disability benefits' and want someone to complete the application forms .

c) These forms are essentially 'self-assessment' forms - there is a myth that Welfare Rights Advisers know what to say and that there are special phrases to use - this is simply wrong.

d) All the claimant has to do is answer the questions on the form truthfully and accurately . The Welfare Rights Team will provide general advice on how to approach answering the questions on the forms, encourage people to complete the forms themselves and to contact local agencies, support workers, friends and family to assist them - only the claimant , and those closest to them , will know how their illnesses and disabilities affect their day-to-day functional abilities.

e) In the case of other 'non disability' benefits, the applications require factual information about a claimant's circumstances so again, only the claimant will know the answers eg. whether they are single, part of a couple, if they have children, what income and savings they have, if they own or rent their accommodation, what other benefits they claim.

f) It is the claimant's application and only they (or their Appointee or Power of Attorney) have to sign the form to say that the information they have provided is accurate and complete.

For advice, help and support with regard to any welfare benefit issues please use the contact details below:

Postal Address: Welfare Rights Team, Adult Social Services, Children, Families and Adults Directorate, Cornwall Council,  1st Floor – East Wing, New County Hall, Treyew Road, Truro, TR1 3AY

Email: welfarerightsteam@cornwall.gov.uk

Telephone:  01872 324457

  • Age UK - Advice and information for older people.
  • Care and Support in Cornwall - for residents in Cornwall requiring care and support.
  • Carers UK - Advice, information and support for carers
  • Charity for children in care and young care leavers in England
  • Citizens Advice - free, confidential and independent advice to help people overcome their problems
  • Community Energy Plus - Energy efficiency advice and information
  • Coram Voice - providing services to children and young people in care
  • Cornwall Council - Advice and Benefits - including Housing benefit, Council Tax Support, Crisis and Care awards (Information, advice and on-line benefit calculator and application process)
  • Cornwall Council Direct Payments and Personal Budgets - resources that may come from education or social care which families can use to support their disabled child or young person's assess need
  • Disability Rights UK - Welfare benefit factsheets (free of charge)
  • EAC - housing advice for older people
  • Family Fund - Grants for seriously ill and disabled children under 17
  • Find Your Way - Project for young people 11 to 19 based in Cornwall – information and advice on a wide range of issues including money and budgeting and welfare rights , housing and homelessness , work and training and sexual health – support delivered from a range of venue including local colleges , youth centres and community buildings
  • Government - gov.uk - General information about many subjects including welfare benefits and links to HM Revenue and Customs for information about Tax Credits, Child Benefit and Income Tax
  • Motability - Car and leasing scheme for people with disabilities
  • National Debt Helpline - Free advice and support re : debt problems
  • NHS Business Services Authority - Search for Leaflet HC11 for help with costs of prescriptions , travel to and from hospital , wigs , glasses , and other health costs
  • Rethink. Mental Illness - Advice for people affected by mental health illness
  • Shelter - Housing and homelessness advice, support and legal services
  • Step Change - Advice re: debt problems
  • The Mix - Support service for young people under 25 (Mental health, Money, Homelessness, Finding a job, Break-ups, Drugs