Welfare Benefits Advice & Advocacy

NCLS has extended access to the Welfare Benefits service during the Covid 19 period.

We provide an advice and advocacy service for clients with welfare rights issues once they reach the appeal or tribunal stage. We are able to help with all types of benefits including: Employment Support Allowance, Incapacity Benefit, Personal Independence Payment, Disability Living Allowance, Attendance Allowance, Housing Benefit, Local Housing Allowance, Council Tax Reduction, Job Seeker’s Allowance, Universal Credit, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Income Support, Bereavement Benefit and Pension Credit.

We can assist with entitlement appeals (if your claim has been refused or entitlement stopped following a review), overpayment appeals and technical appeals including failure to attend, backdating, living together, capital and income appeals.

We have an Advice Quality Standard quality mark for our debt and welfare benefits services.

If you require assistance please follow the guide below.

I need help applying for a benefit or I need help requesting a mandatory reconsideration

If you want to know if you qualify for a benefit, need help claiming a benefit or if you need to request a mandatory reconsideration of a decision, please contact your local Citizens Advice Bureau or search the NCAN Advice Directory which gives details of agencies that may be able to help you.

I have received my mandatory reconsideration notice and need help with completing the appeal form

If you have received your mandatory reconsideration notice and need help with completing the appeal form to appeal to the Social Security Tribunal, and advise about the merits of appealing and the process we can assist you.

You have one month from the date of the mandatory reconsideration notice letter to lodge an appeal with the Social Security Tribunal. You can lodge a late appeal up to 12 months after the date of the mandatory reconsideration notice letter provided that you have reasons as to why your appeal was not made within the one month deadline.

If an advice agency helped you with the mandatory reconsideration request and they have said that they cannot help you further, then you can ask them to refer you to us through the NCAN Common Referral System.  If you didn’t have help, or the agency cannot refer you then during the Covid 19 restrictions you can refer yourself to NCLS for help.

Please telephone us on 01603 496623 or call or text the team directly on 07592 056370, email them at wrars@ncls.co.uk or use this contact form.

During the Covid 19 period there will be no oral hearings taking place. Instead there will be phone hearings and/or triaged provisional decisions.  It is important that Appellant’s still tick that they would like an oral hearing on the appeal form not a paper hearing to ensure that they get the phone hearing, or if/when the Covid 19 restrictions are lifted you get an oral hearing.

I have appealed and have received my appeal papers

If you have received an appeal bundle we can give you advice regarding the merits of your appeal, support you through the appeal process, prepare your case for Tribunal and represent you at the Tribunal hearing provided your case has legal merit.

If an advice agency helped you with the appeal and they have said that they cannot help you further, then you can ask them to refer you to us through the NCAN Common Referral System.

If they are not able to refer you or you have not had any help from an advice agency you can contact us directly during the Covid 19 period , please telephone us on 01603 496623 or 07900 153753, WhatsApp us on 07900 153753 or email us at info@ncls.co.uk or use this contact form.

Covid-19 – Provisional Decision

If you have received a ‘provisional decision notice’ from the Tribunal, which is a new procedure introduced to minimise the need for hearings during the Covid 19 period,  you have until the time limit shown on the ‘provisional decision notice’ to object to the decision. If you object to the ‘provisional decision’, your appeal will be listed for a telephone. If you do not object to the ‘provisional decision’ this will become final after the expiry of the time limit shown on the ‘provisional decision notice’.

If you need advice or assistance with objecting to the ‘provisional decision’, please telephone us on 01603 496623 or 07900 153753, WhatsApp us on 07900 153753 or email us at info@ncls.co.uk or use this contact form. Where possible, please try and attach a copy of the ‘provisional decision notice’.

I have my Tribunal date

We may be able to represent you at Tribunal if you have received your hearing date. If you have already had advice from an advice agency with an earlier stage of your case, ask them if they can refer you to us via the NCAN Common Referral System. If they are not able to refer you in this way or this is the first time that you are seeking advice, please telephone us on 01603 496623 or 07900 153753, WhatsApps us on 07900 153753 or email us at info@ncls.co.uk or use this contact form.

During the Covid 19 period no oral hearings will take place.  You will instead have a phone hearing or a provisional decision. We can support you with both. A phone hearing means that you as the Appellant, your Representative,( for example NCLS), and the Tribunal will all be included in a conference phone call together where we can all hear each other and speak to each other.

I have been to Tribunal

If you have been to Tribunal or have had a phone hearing and your hearing has been adjourned, we may be able to represent you at the relisted hearing, or if the appeal has been dismissed we may be able to advise you with regard to your possible right of further appeal to the Upper Tribunal.

If your appeal was dismissed, you have one month from the date of the Tribunal to request a statement of reasons for a Tribunal decision or to request a set aside on limited procedural grounds, so please seek advice as soon as you can.

If you have already had advice from an advice agency with an earlier stage of your case, ask them if they can refer you to us via the NCAN Common Referral System. If they are not able to refer you can contact us direct , please telephone us on 01603 496623 or 07900 153753, WhatsApp us on 07900 153753 or email us at info@ncls.co.uk or use this contact form.

We cannot give post Tribunal benefit entitlement advice but, any of the benefit entitlement advice agencies in the NCAN directory can assist you.

I am an advice agency

We are available to take referrals for appeal stage advice, bundle stage, and tribunal representation for all benefits, both at First-tier and Upper Tribunal level.

You will need to refer the client to us via the NCAN Common Referral System. When making the referral, please identify the client’s issue, any key dates (e.g. mandatory reconsideration notice date, hearing date, time and venue), a contact telephone number and / or email address for the client and attach any documentation (e.g. mandatory reconsideration notice, appeal bundle, hearing date notice letter).

If your organisation is not already a member and you would like advice about joining please contact Emily Balsdon, the NCAN Coordinator, by emailing ncan@ncls.co.uk. Alternatively you can ask any of the benefit advice giving agencies on the NCAN directory to refer your client to us.

How to contact us

If you are not sure whether we might be an appropriate service for you, or for your client, you can telephone us on 01603 496623 or 07900 153753, WhatsApp us on 07900 153753 or email info@ncls.co.uk  for initial guidance on a referral to the service.

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