Benefit claim forms can be complicated and confusing. You could lose or miss a payment by delaying your application. Getting help to complete the forms will reduce stress and you’ll get your money quicker.

Know your benefit

Each benefit claim form and procedure is different.

After you apply by phone for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) will post a claim form to you.

You apply online for Universal Credit and Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA).

The quickest way to apply for Income Support and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) is by phone.

If you apply for ESA, JSA or Income Support, your details should be passed on for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.

Knowing what you’re entitled to and how to apply will help save time and make you less anxious. 

Claim your benefit

Use the benefits calculator to find out what you can claim. 

Checklist

Getting started

Preparation is everything. Try to:
  • set aside plenty of time to complete the application
  • read through the application at least once as with some forms, such as Housing Benefit, do not need answers to all the sections
  • have all the documents and information you need to complete the application close by
  • start, complete and hand in the application as soon as possible
  • start when you’re feeling positive about completing the form, otherwise leave it until you are feeling more confident
  • use pencil first so you can correct mistakes, before going over in pen
  • complete a form online rather than by hand as typing allows you to add more information.

Start simple

Most benefit claim forms need small bits of information like your address, date of birth or details of people you live with. Go through the form and fill these in first. If you make a mistake with a date or you answer ‘No’ instead of ‘Yes’, do not worry as these can usually be changed later. But it’s always better to get it right first time. Once you’ve done this, review the form then try to answer the more difficult questions.

Example questions

Giving examples can be more difficult. Read the question carefully and try to provide examples for each of the things the assessors are looking for. At the start of each question will be a list of criteria. Use one of your most difficult days as an example as this will give a better picture of your requirements. Bullet points are a good way of presenting the information. 

Help with your ESA claim form
Help with your PIP claim form
‚ÄčHelp with your child’s DLA claim form

Where to get help

You may need help with the examples. If you’ve written the answers yourself, ask someone to read them. Ask someone to fill them in with you, or read the questions to them and make notes for later.

Friends and family can help you explain how your condition affects your everyday life and relationships. 

Government helplines are there to help you with specific queries and not to fill out the whole form. Call them when you have a particular question you’re struggling with.

Your local authority will provide advice for Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claims.

Your local authority’s personal budgeting service will help you understand Universal Credit. They may also be able to help with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction. 

Local authority Welfare Advisers can help with claims for DLA and Tax Credits.

If you’re already receiving Social Care through your local authority, they can help with new claims.

Landlords, especially those in social housing, supported accommodation, housing associations and housing trusts, will want you to be able to pay your rent. Many will have staff that can help with claim forms.

A local advisor may be able to help with completing claim forms.

Find your local authority.

Check for accuracy

If someone else completes the form for you, unless they have Power of Attorney, you must read and check the answers for accuracy. Untrue or incorrect information could delay your payments or lead to you being prosecuted.