Outline of Role
Do you like a challenge, are you keen to tackle injustice and ensure people’s rights and entitlements are met? Equal Lives are excited to be able to offer volunteers the opportunity to be part of our Welfare Benefits and Appeals team. Full training will be provided to enable volunteers to provide support, representation and advice for clients who disagree with their welfare benefit decisions and want to challenge these at Tribunal.
Our Appeal Representatives undertake complex benefit case work; support clients to gather evidence for their appeal hearing; prepare paperwork; write submissions challenging Department for Work and Pensions decisions and offer representation at the appeal hearing if appropriate. They also challenge local Tribunal decisions by taking cases to Upper Tribunal on legal points.
Volunteers have a key role to play in ensuring clients receive the correct benefits to which they are entitled and preventing them from living in poverty by:
Advising on benefit entitlements
- Offering advice and representation prior to appeal hearings
- Assisting clients to gather evidence to support their case
- Preparing written submissions to highlight the facts under appeal
- Representing clients at hearings where appropriate
- Providing information and advice, verbally and in writing
All volunteers are required to undertake our core training programme. This covers basic safeguarding and other key features.
Role specific training will be delivered to provide volunteers with an understanding of welfare rights, the appeal process and challenging decisions. Ongoing training and support will be provided, particularly as this is a specialist role.
New volunteers will have an opportunity to ‘shadow’ experienced volunteers and members of staff.
Volunteers are required to adhere to the organisation’s policies and practice guidelines.
Reasonable expenses including travel whilst undertaking this role will be reimbursed. This includes mileage (currently £0.45 p/mile) and parking costs.
Applications must include 2 satisfactory references. Applicants must complete a Disclosure and Barring Service check.
An awareness of disabling barriers and how these might impact upon service users, their families and carers
Excellent research skills and attention to detail
Honesty and integrity
An ability to be empathic, whilst maintaining professional boundaries
Reliability, and only committing to a level of volunteering which is realistic
Good interpersonal skills
The ability to be non-judgemental
Good verbal and written communication skills
Excellent listening skills
Ability to work on own initiative and as part of a team
Sound administrative skills, and an ability to maintain accurate case records
Commitment to attend training courses and team meetings
Ability to follow organisational policies and procedures including safeguarding, data protection and health and safety