How to claim benefit

The government has a range of benefits to provide opportunities and support. These are handled by various departments and agencies. If you are entitled to any of these benefits, you will need to claim them from the right place.

The different types of benefit

Benefits are available for people of working age, for pensioners, for families and children, and for people with disabilities and their carers. Each of these areas is handled by different departments or parts of departments. Making a claim from the right area will make sure you get your benefit as quickly as possible.

Benefits are divided into four groups:

  • benefits for people of working age
  • benefits for people who have retired or who are planning to retire
  • benefits for families and children
  • benefits for people with disabilities and carers

Benefits for people of working age

If you are looking for work (or are in low paid work) you can get financial help and support from Social Security/Jobs & Benefits offices and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Benefits for people of pensionable age

Many people of pensionable age are entitled to a basic State Pension and other benefits such as Pension Credit. These are administered by the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

Benefits for families and children

Everyone who has a child is entitled to claim Child Benefit. Additional support is available for families who have particular requirements, such as children with special needs, lone parent families, expecting a baby and so on.

This help is provided by different sections of the Department for Communities and HMRC. Your nearest Social Security/Jobs & Benefits office will help you find the right department to answer any questions you may have.

Benefits for people with disabilities and carers

There is a range of local and central government support available for people who are sick, or who have disabilities, and for the people who care for them. The support tends to vary according to the nature of illness or disability.

For example, whether it is long-term, whether you were in work when you became ill or disabled, and whether the illness involves a stay in hospital or a care home.

Proving your identity

If you are claiming benefits you must be able to prove your identity. This is to make sure benefits are paid to the right people at the right time.

Below are some of the documents you can use to help prove your identity. Photocopies can't usually be accepted.

  • formal identification documents, for example valid passport, birth certificate, UK driving licence or Home Office document
  • work documents, for example a letter from your employer or a contract of employment
  • financial documents, for example payslips or invoices
  • education documents, for example a student ID card or student loan documents
  • other documents, for example mortgage or rental agreement, utility bill

Who to ask about your benefit

Your nearest Social Security/Jobs & Benefits office will help you with any questions you have about your benefits situation.

Contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre to discuss your state retirement pension. For information on benefits administered by HMRC, such as tax credits, contact your local Tax Office.

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