Advice about benefits - Welfare Rights Team

If you are looking for information and advice about welfare benefits, then our Welfare Rights Team can help.

Who are they?

Continue reading

The Welfare Rights Team is part of Cornwall Council's Adult Social Services, which is part of the Council's Children, Families and Adults Directorate.

The Welfare Rights Team is a team of two covering the whole county who have extensive knowledge of and experience dealing with welfare benefit law and regulation. They provide information and advice to enable people to deal with all aspects of the welfare benefit system, ranging from benefit claims and benefit law through to representation at Social Security Appeal Tribunals.

The majority of their work involves acting as representatives at Social Security Appeal Tribunals by helping people to understand the legal principles of their case, gather evidence and prepare written submissions for the tribunal panel.

The rest of the team's work involves providing accurate advice and information to people so they understand what benefits they are entitled to claim and how to make relevant applications. 

They are often contacted by people who have issues or queries not relating to welfare benefits, e.g. debt, accommodation. Through their wide network of contacts and knowledge they will usually be able to identify which organisation the person should be contacting.

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.

The Welfare Rights Team do not provide a 'form-filling' service.

Benefit claims require information about a claimant’s circumstances.  

For ‘disability’ benefits detailed information is required which explains what illnesses and disabilities a claimant’ has and how these affect the way their body works (physically and cognitively) ie: the difficulties they have completing basic daily activities eg: washing and bathing, moving and using arms, legs and hand, preparing a simple meal, walking, dressing and undressing, going out.

For 'non-disability' benefits factual information is required about a claimant's status and circumstances e.g. 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.

The Welfare Rights Team encourage people to contact local agencies, support workers, friends and family to assist them to complete benefit application form(s) because only the claimant and those closest to them, will know how their illnesses and disabilities affect their functional abilities on a day-to-day basis and, have details about their accommodation, employment and finances. It is the claimant's application and only they (or their Appointee / Power of Attorney) can sign the form to say that the information provided is accurate and complete.

There is a myth that there are special phrases to use (especially in the case of applications for disability benefits) - this is simply wrong. All a claimant has to do is answer the questions on the form truthfully and accurately.


The Welfare Rights Team can provide information, advice and explanations by telephone, email and post to help people understand welfare benefit qualifying criteria, application and assessment processes and what to do when they receive a decision they disagree with. The Welfare Rights Team can discuss any of these issues with family members, friends, support workers etc., as long as the claimant has provided permission .

The Welfare Rights Team can be contacted as follows:

Post :

Welfare Rights Team
Adult Social Services
Children, Families and Adults Directorate
Cornwall Council
1st Floor , East Wing ,
New County Hall ,
Treyew Road ,
Truro , 

Email :

Telephone our Welfare Rights Officers :

Peter Carey on: 01872 324470 or Sue Lovell on: 01872 324457


  • Age UK - Advice and information for older people.
  • Become Charity - Charity for children in care and young care leavers in England .
  • Care and Support in Cornwall - for residents in Cornwall requiring care and support.
  • Carers UK - Advice, information and support for carers
  • 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 - Personal Budgets - Resources that may come from education or social care which families can use to support their disabled child or young person’s assessed needs . Search 'Personal Budgets' on Cornwall Councils website
  • Disability Rights UK - Welfare benefit factsheets (free of charge)
  • Family Fund - Grants for seriously ill and disabled children under 17
  • Government - - General information about many subjects including welfare benefits and links to HM Revenue and Customs for information about Tax Credits, Child Bnefit and Income Tax
  • Housing Care - Housing advice for older people.
  • Motability - Car and leasing scheme for people with disabilities
  • National Debtline - 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