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Rights and benefits/access to services

Benefits Agency (or Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland): local offices 

For general advice on all social security benefits, pensions and National Insurance, including maternity benefits and Income Support and income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, telephone, write or call in to your local social security office.

The address will be in the phone book under ‘benefits agency’ (or Social Security Agency in Northern Ireland). Hours are usually 9.30am to 3.30pm. In busy offices there may be a very long wait if you call in.

Child Poverty Action Group

94 White Lion Street
London N1 9PF

(020) 7837 7979 

In Northern Ireland:
12 Queen Street
Londonderry BT48 7EG

(028) 7126 7777

Campaigns on behalf of low-income families. Provides advisers with information and advice for parents on benefits, housing, welfare rights, etc.*

Child Support Agency

Office of Chief Executive
Room 158a
Newcastle Benefits Directory
Benton Park Road
NE98 1YX

(0345) 133133 (Enquiry line)

In Northern Ireland:
Great Northern Tower
Great Victoria Street
Belfast BT2 7AD

(0345) 139896

The Government agency that assesses maintenance levels for parents who no longer live with their children. The agency will claim maintenance on behalf of the parent with care of the children but if you are on benefits the money claimed will be deducted from your benefit.

Citizens Advice Bureaux

National Association of Citizens
Advice Bureaux
Myddleton House
115–123 Pentonville Road
London N1 9LZ

(020) 7833 2181 (call for telephone number of your local office)

In Northern Ireland:
11 Upper Crescent
Belfast BT7 1NT

(028) 9073 9447

For advice on all benefits, housing, your rights generally, and many other problems. To find your local CAB look in the phone book or ask at your local library. There may also be other advice centres in your area offering similar help.

Community Health Councils

CHCs exist to help users of the NHS. They advise on where and how to get the service you need, and can help if you’ve got a complaint.

In Northern Ireland CHCs are called, Health and Social Services Councils. For your local CHC, look in your phone book under the name of your district health authority or local Health and Social Services


Commission for Racial Equality

10–12 Allington Street
London SW1E 5EH

(020) 7828 7022

Encourages good relations between people from different racial backgrounds, the elimination of racial discrimination and promotion of equal opportunities.

In Northern Ireland:

Community Relations Councils (CRCs)

Glendinning House
6 Murray Street
Belfast BT1 6DN

(028) 9043 9953

In Wales:

Race Equality First

Friary Centre
Cardiff CF10 3FA

(029) 2022 4097

Sometimes called Councils for Racial Equality or Community Relations Offices. They are concerned with race and community relations in their area and often know of local minority ethnic organisations and support groups. To find your CRC look in your phone book, ask at your town hall or local library, or contact the above.

Disability Alliance

Universal House
88–94 Wentworth Street
London E1 7SA

(020) 7247 8776
(020) 7247 8763 (Advice line 2pm–4pm Mon, Wed, 10am–4pm Tues, Thur, Fri)

Information and advice on benefits for all people with disabilities. Publishes the Disability Rights Handbook – an annual guide to rights, benefits and services for those with disabilities and their families.*

Equal Opportunities Commission

Overseas House
Quay Street
Manchester M3 3HN

(0161) 833 9244

In Northern Ireland:
Chamber of Commerce House
22 Great Victoria Street
Belfast BT2 7BA

(028) 9024 2752

Information and advice on issues of discrimination and equal opportunities.*

Family Welfare Association

501–505 Kingsland Road
London E8 4AU

(020) 7254 6251

We are indebted to Health Promotion England for their help in compiling this section.