It is not uncommon for some people to need help making a benefit claim.
The solution could be a home visit conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Visiting Team.
Under certain circumstances, their officers can visit you at your home, or elsewhere, and help you with your benefit claim.
Note: You would not be able to book, or arrange, support visits yourself.
The first step is to inform DWP that you need help to claim benefits. They will arrange a support visit if you meet the eligibility criteria.
In some cases, DWP might decide to refer your request for a support visit to one of the charitable organisations. Typical examples include Age UK or the Citizens Advice.
These type of assistance calls can take place at other locations besides your home. The most common example would be at a hospital. They would usually discuss the location with you when after the referral.
Eligibility Criteria for Support Visits
The arrangement of a visit, because you need extra help to claim benefits, would usually take place if you:
- Are disabled.
- Are a vulnerable young person who is making a claim for the first time.
- Are unable to claim benefits using another method (e.g. an appointee).
- Do not have anybody else to support you.
- Have complex needs.
Support visits by the DWP are also available if someone you know is becoming an appointee to help you manage your benefits.
How the Process Works
You would receive a phone call from the DWP Visiting Team. The purpose of this is to book a visit and inform you of what to expect. They will also give you details on how to contact them.
A letter sent to you after the phone call would confirm the booking. But, visits booked at short notice might take place before you receive the confirmation letter.
Note: You may get a mobile contact number if the visit will take place at your home. In this case, the team will also confirm the booking with a text message.
The DWP Visiting Team will give you some basic information before the support visit goes ahead, including:
- The date and the time of the visit (you will be able to reschedule if you need to).
- The location for the meeting (e.g. your home).
- How you can contact the Visiting Team.
- The name of the visiting officer who will be visiting you.
- What identity documents you need to show before it can begin.
- Details on security and safety for the visitation.
- What you will need to disclose about your income and savings to the DWP.
- What details you should tell DWP about the condition of your health.
The duration of support visits if you need help to claim benefits vary on a case by case basis. Thus, it would not be possible to state exactly how long they take.
Checking the Visit is Genuine
You would be able to contact the DWP Visiting Team before the visit takes place if you have any questions. You can also call them if you want to:
- Change the venue for the visit.
- Reschedule a support visit.
Note: The number to call will be on the letter as well as the text message you receive from the officer. You can also contact Jobcentre Plus if you have difficulties.
How to Check Identity of a DWP Visiting Officer
The visiting officer will carry a photo identity card with them and they will show it to you when they arrive. That means you can check if it matches the name of the visiting officer in the letter you received from the DWP.
There is another way to check their identity. You can call the number on the letter (or the text message) and give them the visiting officer’s name for confirmation.