Benefits advice workers guide individuals in the social work area to help them solve specific problems in their personal life by addressing personal and relationship issues, inner conflicts, depression and addictions. They attempt to empower individuals to achieve change and improve the quality of their life. They may also support and advise clients on demanding their social security benefits.
The following job titles also refer to benefits advice worker:
advice worker, benefits
welfare benefits advice worker
welfare rights worker
social benefits social worker
welfare rights adviser
welfare benefits adviser
welfare rights counsellor
welfare benefits social worker
employment and benefits advice worker
welfare rights officer
social security social worker
Bachelor’s degree is generally required to work as benefits advice worker. However, this requirement may differ in some countries.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Benefits advice worker is a Skill level 4 occupation.
Benefits advice worker career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to benefits advice worker.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of benefits advice worker. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of benefits advice worker with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of benefits advice worker.
Social work theory: The development and characteristics of social work theories underpinned by social sciences and humanities.
Legal requirements in the social sector: The prescribed legislative and regulatory requirements in the social sector.
Social sciences: The development and characteristics of sociological, anthropological, psychological, political, and social policy theories.
Social security law: Legislation concerning the protection of individuals and the provision of aid and benefits, such as health insurance benefits, unemployment benefits, welfare programs and other government-provided social security.
Social justice: The development and principles of human rights and social justice and the way they should be applied on a case by case basis.
Company policies: The set of rules that govern the activity of a company.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of benefits advice worker.
Apply anti-oppressive practices: Identify oppression in societies, economies, cultures, and groups, acting as a professional in an non-oppressive way, enabling service users to take action to improve their lives and enabling citizens to change their environment in accordance with their own interests.
Provide social counselling: Assist and guide social service users to resolve personal, social or psychological problems and difficulties.
Promote social security programmes: Promote government programmes dealing with the provision of aid to individuals in order to gain support for the development and implementation of social security programmes.
Involve service users and carers in care planning: Evaluate the needs of individuals in relation to their care, involve families or carers in supporting the development and implementation of support plans. Ensure review and monitoring of these plans.
Work within communities: Establish social projects aimed at community development and active citizen participation.
Meet standards of practice in social services: Practice social care and social work in a lawful, safe and effective way according to standards.
Empower social service users: Enable individuals, families, groups and communities to gain more control over their lives and environment, either by themselves or with the help of others.
Apply quality standards in social services: Apply quality stardards in social services while upholding social work values and principles.
Apply case management: Assess, plan, facilitate, coordinate, and advocate for options and services on behalf of a person.
Apply problem solving in social service: Systematically apply a step-by-step problem-solving process in providing social services.
Apply crisis intervention: Respond methodologically to a disruption or breakdown in the normal or usual function of a person, family, group or community.
Protect vulnerable social service users: Intervene to provide physical, moral and psychological support to people in dangerous or difficult situations and to remove to a place of safety where appropriate.
Contribute to protecting individuals from harm: Use established processes and procedures to challenge and report dangerous, abusive, discriminatory or exploitative behaviour and practice, bringing any such behaviour to the attention of the employer or the appropriate authority.
Develop professional identity in social work: Strive to provide the appropriate services to social work clients while staying within a professional framework, understanding what the work means in relation to other professionals and taking into account the specific needs of your clients.
Work in partnership with social services users: Help social service users identify and express their expectations and strengths, providing them with information and advice to make informed decisions about their circumstances. Work with individuals, families, groups, communities to achieve change and improve life opportunities.
Deliver social services in diverse cultural communities: Deliver services which are mindful of different cultural and language traditions, showing respect and validation for communities and being consistent with policies regarding human rights and equality and diversity.
Conduct interview in social service: Induce clients, colleagues, executives, or public officials to talk fully, freely, and truthfully, so as to explore the interviewee`s experiences, attitudes, and opinions.
Demonstrate leadership in social service cases: Take the lead in the practical handling of social work cases and activities.
Communicate professionally with colleagues in other fields: Communicate professionally and cooperate with members of the other professions in the health and social services sector.
Follow health and safety precautions in social care practices: Ensure hygienic work practice, respecting the safety of the environment at day care, residential care settings and care at home.
Plan social service process: Plan the social service process, defining the objective and considering the methods of implementation, identifying and accessing available resources, such as time, budget, personnel and defining indicators to evaluate the outcome.
Promote social change: Promote changes in relationships between individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities by taking into consideration and coping with unpredictable changes, at the micro, macro and mezzo level.
Support social service users to manage their financial affairs: Work with individuals to access information and advice about their financial affairs and support them to manage and monitor their finances.
Advocate for social service users: Speak for and on behalf of service users, using communicative skills and knowledge of relevant fields to assist those less advantaged.
Prevent social problems: Develop, define and implement actions that can prevent social problems, striving for the enhancement of the quality of life for all citizens.
Make legislation transparent for users of social services: Inform and explain the legislation for users of social services, in order to help them understand the implications it has on them and how to use it for their interest.
Negotiate with social service users: Discuss with your client to establish fair conditions, building on a bond of trust, reminding the client that the work is in their favour and encouraging their cooperation.
Promote service users’ rights: Supporting client`s rights to control his or her life, making informed choices about the services they receive, respecting and, where appropriate, promoting the individual views and wishes of both the client and his or her caregivers.
Apply person-centred care: Treat individuals as partners in planning, developing and assessing care, to make sure it is appropriate for their needs. Put them and their caregivers at the heart of all decisions.
Assess social service users’ situation: Assess the social situation of service users situation balancing curiosity and respect in the dialogue, considering their families, organisations and communities and the associated risks and identifying the needs and resources, in order to meet physical, emotional and social needs.
Handle conflicts: Mediate in conflicts and tense situations by acting between parties, such as service users, important others like families, and institutions, striving to effect an agreement, reconciliate, and resolve problems.
Relate empathetically: Recognise, understand and share emotions and insights experienced by another.
Listen actively: Give attention to what other people say, patiently understand points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times; able to listen carefully the needs of customers, clients, passengers, service users or others, and provide solutions accordingly.
Manage social crisis: Identify, respond and motivate individuals in social crisis situations, in a timely manner, making use of all resources.
Manage ethical issues within social services: Apply social work ethical principles to guide practice and manage complex ethical issues, dilemmas and conflicts in accordance to occupational conduct, the ontology and the code of ethics of the social services occupations, engaging in ethical decision making by applying standards of national and – as applicable – international codes of ethics or statements of principles.
Review social service plan: Review social service plans, taking service users’ views and preferences into account. Follow up on the plan, assessing the quantity and quality of services provided.
Apply decision making within social work: Take decisions when called for, staying within the limits of granted authority and considering the input from the service user and other caregivers.
Adhere to organisational guidelines: Adhere to organisational or department specific standards and guidelines. Understand the motives of the organisation and the common agreements and act accordingly.
Apply holistic approach within social services: Consider the social service user in any situation, recognising the connections between micro-dimension, meso-dimension, and macro-dimension of social problems, social development and social policies.
Delegate activities: Delegate activities and tasks to others according to the ability, level of preparation, competence and legal scope of practice. Make sure that people understand what they should do and when they should do it.
Work in a multicultural environment in health care: Interact, relate and communicate with individuals from a variety of different cultures, when working in a healthcare environment.
Address problems critically: Identify the strengths and weaknesses of various abstract, rational concepts, such as issues, opinions, and approaches related to a specific problematic situation in order to formulate solutions and alternative methods of tackling the situation.
Apply socially just working principles: Work in accordance with management and organisational principles and values focusing on human rights and social justice.
Promote inclusion: Promote inclusion in health care and social services and respect diversity of beliefs, culture, values and preferences, keeping in mind the importance of equality and diversity issues.
Maintain records of work with service users: Maintain accurate, concise, up-to-date and timely records of the work with service users while complying with legislation and policies related to privacy and security.
Develop professional network: Reach out to and meet up with people in a professional context. Find common ground and use your contacts for mutual benefit. Keep track of the people in your personal professional network and stay up to date on their activities.
Reflect on practice: Routinely evaluate own practice, critically evaluating and monitoring the practice methods and outcomes in consistent, coherent and appropriate ways, being aware of relevant methodologies and utilising feedback from managers, supervisors, other professionals, and patients/clients, in order to adapt the practice accordingly.
Negotiate with social service stakeholders: Negotiate with government institutions, other social workers, family and caregivers, employers, landlords, or landladies to obtain the most suitable result for your client.
Report on social development: Report results and conclusions on society’s social development in an intelligible way, presenting these orally and in written form to a range of audiences from non-experts to experts.
Undertake continuous professional development in social work: Undertake continuous professional development (CPD) to continuously update and develop knowledge, skills and competences within one`s scope of practice in social work.
Have computer literacy: Utilise computers, IT equipment and modern day technology in an efficient way.
Tolerate stress: Maintain a temperate mental state and effective performance under pressure or adverse circumstances.
Apply organisational techniques: Employ a set of organisational techniques and procedures which facilitate the achievement of the goals set. Use these resources efficiently and sustainably, and show flexibility when required.
Develop social security programmes: Develop programmes and policies which aim to protect citizens and grant them rights, such as unemployment and family benefits, as well as to prevent their misuse of government-provided aid.
Refer social service users: Make referrals to other professionals and other organisations, based on the social service users’ requirements and needs.
Organise social work packages: Create a package of social support services according to the service user’s needs and in line with specified standards, regulations and timescales.
Communicate with social service users: Use verbal, non-verbal, written, and electronic communication. Pay attention to the specific social service users’ needs, characteristics, abilities, preferences, age, developmental stage, and culture.
Consider social impact of actions on service users: Act according to the political, social and cultural contexts of social service users, considering the impact of certain actions on their social well being.
Advise on social security benefits: Advise citizens on government-regulated benefits they are eligible for, such as unemployment benefits, family benefits, and other social security benefits.
Cooperate at inter-professional level: Cooperate with people in other sectors in relation to social service work.
Accept own accountability: Accept accountability for one`s own professional activities and recognise the limits of one`s own scope of practice and competencies.
Manage stress in organisation: Cope with sources of stress and cross-pressure in one’s own professional life, such as occupational, managerial, institutional and personal stress, and help others do the same so as to promote the well-being of your colleagues and avoid burn-out.
Build helping relationship with social service users: Develop a collaborative helping relationship, addressing any ruptures or strains in the relationship, fostering bonding and gaining service users` trust and cooperation through empathic listening, caring, warmth and authenticity.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of benefits advice worker. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
Government social security programmes: The different areas of social security provided by the government, the different rights which citizens have, which benefits are available, the rules which regulate social security and the different situations in which they apply.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of benefits advice worker. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
ISCO group and title
2635 – Social work and counselling professionals
- Benefits advice worker – ESCO