In some cases, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officers can provide support visits to claimants who need some help to claim their benefits.
The information in this guide explains how to get assistance from the DWP Visiting Team and what will happen when they contact you (e.g. at your home).
First of all, it is important to understand that you cannot book this type of visit yourself. Instead, you must inform the staff at the DWP that you will need some with your benefits claim.
So, how do you arrange support visits if you need help to claim benefits? You would need to call the telephone number associated with the particular benefit for which you are applying.
Following that, providing you meet the eligibility criteria, the staff will make arrangements for someone to carry out a support visit. In some cases, the visit may result in a referral to a charitable organisation (e.g. Age UK, Citizens Advice).
DWP support visits do not need to take place at your home address. Hence, they can also occur at other locations (e.g. a hospital or a care home).
Note: This information about the reasons for a support visit from the DWP Visiting Team is also available in Welsh language (Cymraeg).
Eligibility for Support Visits to claim Benefits
As a rule, you would need to meet the eligibility criteria to get a visit arranged outside the usual departments. Typical reasons for getting this kind of help, include:
- Having a disability or complex needs.
- Being a vulnerable young person who is making a benefits claim for the first time.
- Having nobody else to support you.
- Being unable to claim welfare benefits in any other way.
What if another person is applying to become your appointee (e.g. to help you manage your benefits)? If so, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) can also arrange this kind of support visit.
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What Happens after Booking a DWP Visit?
One of the DWP Visiting Team will contact you by telephone to book the visit. They will also provide you with information about what to expect.
They would usually send you a confirmation letter, or text message, beforehand. But, the booking can actually occur before you get a letter or text (e.g. if it was booked at short notice).
Even so, before the actual visit takes place, you will get information about the date, time, and location, as well as further details on:
- How to reschedule the visit (e.g. contacting the Visiting Team).
- The name of the visiting officer and your security (e.g. inviting strangers into your home).
- What identity documents they will need to see.
- What details you need to provide the DWP about your income, savings, and your health status.
The Department for Work and Pensions do not provide accurate information on how long the support visit will take. Hence, it varies on a case by case basis.
How to Check the Visit is Genuine
You should contact the DWP Visiting Team if you have any questions about the visit, such as for:
- Rescheduling the visit (or changing the location).
- Making arrangements for the use of an identity password between yourself and a visiting officer (e.g. to check they are genuine).
Note: They will provide you with a contact telephone number in the confirmation letter or text message.
Checking the Visiting Officer’s Identity
All DWP Visiting Officers carry a photo identity card (used for identification). So, it is important for you to view it when they arrive. The name of the officer should match the one named in your confirmation letter.
But, what happens if you are unable to check they are genuine (e.g. you have a visual impairment)? In this case, you should use an identity password (details above).
There is another way to check the identity of the visiting officer. You can cross reference their name by calling the telephone number stated on the letter (or in the text message) that you already received from them.