Tolley’s Social Security and State Benefits: A Practical Guide

    Star rating: 3/5.

    By Simon Ennals.
    ISBN 0754525694

    At just under 400 pages, this is clearly a less detailed guide to
    the benefit system than the acknowledged market leader, the
    1,500-page Child Poverty Action Group welfare benefits handbook.
    And yet still manages to be over 50 per cent dearer, writes Gary

    Nevertheless, Simon Ennals (once of CPAG) has managed to include
    some information that CPAG excludes. There are short but
    informative chapters on home renovation grants, community care
    financial assessments and child support, for example, as well as
    the material you would expect on national insurance, means-tested
    and non-contributory benefits and tax credits.

    The guide is reasonably well set out, although chapters do seem
    rather random. For example, pension credit appears almost tacked on
    as an afterthought in the final seven pages, which probably doesn’t
    do it justice, given the importance it has for many social work
    clients. The guide is in danger of falling between two stools- not
    detailed enough for the welfare rights “techie”, not basic enough
    for the front-line social care worker.

    But it would be suitable for social care staff who want to give
    benefits advice but who are daunted by the CPAG alternative. The
    latter is still of greater use to the specialist adviser.

    Gary Vaux is a welfare rights specialist.

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