Introduction to Welfare Benefits

This practical course provides a comprehensive introduction to the benefits and tax credits system. Being run in partnership with The Benefits Training Company the course includes access to 12 months ongoing advice and support from The Benefits Training Co, via phone and email.

COVID-19 UPDATE: Following the government’s announcements on 16 March, it is clear we are entering a new phase of the coronavirus pandemic. As such, we feel it is best to stop delivery of all face-to-face training until further notice.


Group training (5-18 staff): Commercial rate £955; Standard / Concessionary £890 + plus trainer’s expenses + VAT

‘Very knowledgeable trainer, able to answer a range of questions. Good delivery of content.’

Executive Assistant, Single Homelessness Project

‘Really well presented, interesting and informative training.’

Grants Administrator, Teaching Staff Trust

Course contains

  • Factors that affect entitlement
  • The structure of the benefits and tax credits system
  • Benefit definitions – who can claim each benefit?
  • Work capability
  • Disability benefits
  • Benefits for different client groups
  • Work related requirements
  • The impact of Universal Credit
  • Completing a basic benefits check
  • Challenging decisions

Learning outcomes

After this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand how the benefits system is structured and the differences between contributory, non-contributory and means tested benefits;
  • Know who can claim each of the benefits which make up the system;
  • Have an awareness of common issues affecting people when claiming health and disability benefits;
  • Understand how ongoing reforms are affecting the wider system;
  • Know how packages of entitlements can be claimed together;
  • Be able to complete basic benefit checks to ensure people are claiming their likely entitlements;
  • Be able to advise people on how to make claims and how to challenge decisions;

Suitable for

This course is important for those who are new to benefits or who need a refresher.

Please note: we also offer an introductory level course for staff who are purely interested in Universal Credit: ‘Universal Credit Overview’ which is next running on 30 October.

Meet the trainers

David Stickland

David has been a Shelter trainer since 2003. He has extensive experience as a Citizens Advice and local authority benefits caseworker.

David now combines training with working in frontline advice. He is the lead trainer at the Benefits Training Company and works as an adviser on a busy telephone advice service in London. He runs a large number of Shelter's Housing Benefit and Welfare Benefits courses.

Before becoming a benefits adviser, David worked abroad as an English language teacher where he developed an interactive training style that is engaging, informative and enjoyable.

CPD hours 5