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How to become a Benefits Officer

benefits officer careers

What does a Benefits Officer do?

Public finance officers usually work in either revenues collection, eg the administration and collection of council tax, or in assessing housing and council tax benefits, although some may work on housing and council tax valuations or fraud investigation.

Revenues officers:

Revenue officers undertake some or all of the following tasks: calculating bills such as rents, council tax and business rates; ensuring that bills are sent out on time and issuing reminders; dealing with queries from the public and other agencies such as housing associations; record keeping and performance monitoring.

Benefits officers:

Benefits officers undertake some or all of the following tasks; assessing the income and needs of clients to calculate entitlement to housing and council tax benefits; paying the appropriate benefits and adjusting benefits when circumstances change; liaising with other departments and agencies such as social services and housing associations; dealing with legal action when necessary; keeping records and performance monitoring.

What's the working environment like working as a Benefits Officer?

Local government revenues/benefits officers usually work 35 to 37 hours a week, Monday to Friday. Part-time and flexitime working may be available. Councils usually offer job shares where appropriate. It may be necessary to visit clients in their own homes, but only within the local authority area.

Work is office based at a workstation with a computer and phone.

What does it take to become a Benefits Officer?

To be a local government revenues/benefits officer you should:

  • have good communication skills, both written and verbal
  • have tact, diplomacy and sensitivity when dealing with clients sometimes in demanding situations
  • be able to understand complex issues and able to explain them clearly to customers
  • have good numeracy and computer literacy skills
  • be able to work accurately and pay attention to detail
  • have analytical and problem-solving skills.

Benefits Officer Career Opportunities

Revenues and benefits officers are employed by local authorities throughout the UK, and by a growing number of companies working under contract to local authorities. With suitable experience and motivation, promotion prospects are good. It is also possible to move into other local government financial roles.

Officers specialising in benefits may have opportunities to work in the voluntary sector undertaking a similar role. It is possible to specialise and provide advice on benefits, often working for the Citizens Advice Bureau or a local authority.

The skills and experience gained as a revenue/benefits officer are transferable, and may lead to opportunities in central government departments such as the Inland Revenue and the Department for Work and Pensions.

Local Government Careers has a list of job opportunities within the sector. See website for further details.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Benefits Officer that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Local Government Careers

Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation
41 Doughty Street
Tel: 020 7831 3505

Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)
Rosebery House
9 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5XZ
Tel: 0131 474 9200

Financial Services Skills Council (FSSC)
51 Gresham Street
Tel: 020 7216 7366

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down

Courses to help you become a Benefits Officer