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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