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 promptly will reduce stress and you may get your money quicker.
Know your benefit
Each benefit claim form and procedure is different. It will help if you know the application process of the benefit you’re applying for before you submit a claim.
Prioritise your claims as Universal Credit should take less time to process than PIP.
Preparation is everything. Try to:
set aside plenty of time to complete the application
read through the application and notes at least once
have to hand all the documents and information you need to complete the application
start, complete and hand in the application as well as you can as soon as possible
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’, cross this out and correct it. Once you’ve done this, review the form then try to answer the more difficult 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. This will give a better picture of your requirements. Bullet points are a good way of presenting the information.
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 or your GP can help you explain how your condition affects your everyday life and relationships. A trusted friend or relative can complete the form for you.
Warning Check your form
If someone else completes the form for you, unless they have Power of Attorney, you must read and check the answers for accuracy. Incorrect or untrue information could delay payment or lead to you being prosecuted.
Where to get help
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 may be able to help with Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction.
If your local authority has Welfare Advisers, they may be able to help with claims for benefits.
If you’re already receiving social care through your local authority, they may 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.