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Understanding the Benefits System

Understanding the Benefits System
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The benefits system provides practical help and financial support if you are unemployed and looking for work. It also provides you with additional income when your earnings are low, if you are bringing up children, are retired, care for someone, are ill or have a disability.

Who pays benefits

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) manages most benefits through Jobcentre Plus offices. Benefits and entitlements for pensioners are dealt with through a network of pension centres which provide a face-to-face service for those who need additional help and support. You'll also often deal with other agencies or government departments, such as your local council or HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

People of working age

Benefits and services for people of working age, for example Jobseeker's Allowance, are managed by Jobcentre Plus offices around the country.

Jobcentre Plus will help you with:

  • finding work

  • starting your own business

  • managing on a low income

  • illness or accidents caused by work

Pensioners and people planning for their retirement

The Pension Service, which is part of the DWP, provides services to:

  • anyone planning for their retirement

  • people approaching retirement

  • people who've already retired

  • employers

  • pensions providers and advisers

The Pension Service looks after benefits and entitlements such as the State Pension, Pension Credit and Winter Fuel Payments.

Families and children

Jobcentre Plus looks after benefits and services for families, including those:

  • bringing up children, including children with special needs

  • managing on a low income, including help with health costs

HM Revenue & Customs deals with Child Benefit, Guardian's Allowance and tax credits

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