Support visits if you need help to claim benefits
You may be able to get a home visit from a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) officer to help you with your benefit claim.
You cannot book a visit yourself. Tell DWP you need help to claim benefits by calling the number of the benefit you’re applying for. If you’re eligible, they’ll arrange a support visit.
You can also be referred for a support visit by a charitable organisation like Citizens Advice or Age UK.
Support visits can take place somewhere other than your home, for example at a hospital. This will usually be discussed with you when you’re referred.
A visit can be arranged for you if you need extra help to claim benefits, for example because you:
- have complex needs
- are disabled
- are a vulnerable young person making a claim for the first time
- have nobody else to support you
- cannot claim benefits in any other way
DWP will also arrange a support visit if someone you know is applying to become your appointee (external link) to help you manage your benefits.
What to expect
The DWP Visiting Team will call you to book a visit and tell you what to expect, including how to contact them. You’ll get a letter to confirm the booking, but if the visit has been booked at short notice, it may happen before you get the letter.
If the visit is going to take place at your home and you’ve given a mobile number, the team will also confirm the booking by text message.
Before the visit, the DWP Visiting Team will tell you about:
- the date and time of the visit - you can reschedule it if you need to
- where the visit will take place
- how to contact the Visiting Team
- who will visit you - you’ll be given the visiting officer’s name
- what identity documents you’ll need to show before the visit can begin
- security and safety for the visit
- what you’ll need to tell DWP about your income and savings
- what you should tell DWP about your health
The length of support visits varies and it’s not possible to say how long the visit will take.
Check the visit is genuine
You can call the DWP Visiting Team before the visit if you have any questions, including if you want to:
- reschedule your visit
- change where you want the visit to take place
- arrange for a password to be used between yourself and a visiting officer to check their identity
The number will be on the letter and in the text message you got about the visit.
Check the identity of the visiting officer
The visiting officer will show you their photo identity card when they arrive.
You can then check if the visiting officer named in the letter you got about the visit is the same person.
If you cannot check their photo identity card (for example, if you have a visual impairment) you can agree on a password for the visiting officer to say when they arrive. You need to arrange this before the visit by calling the DWP Visiting Team.
You can also check their identity by calling the number on the letter or in the text message, and giving the visiting officer’s name.