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Summary of organisations administering Social Security

What is Social Security?

The term "social security" is being used in quite a wide sense here, since this is for the UK. In the USA, the term "social security" is more focused on such things as pension provision, and the word "welfare" tends to be used for support for poor people. In the UK, "social security" tends to cover all these areas. (But in the UK, the term "welfare reform" includes pension reform, so there isn't a clear distinction!)

So, social security here tends to mean being paid money by the state (or sometimes other organisations) because you have qualifying conditions (such as unemployment, disability and other sickness, old age, maternity, low pay, etc). The variety of types of social security and the organisations administering them are shown below.

Administration of Social Security

Here are most, but probably not all, of the general types of social security payments and the organisations administering them. This is not a list of all the specific benefits within these types. (Here, "direct administration" means handing out the money and keeping the records, but in fact there are complex inter-relationships between these organisations. For example an organisation may pay out money then claim it back from elsewhere, or one organisation may oversee another, perhaps for fraud prevention purposes).

Type of payment Direct administration

Out-of-work (typically less than 16 hours pw) benefits.

(For people expected to seek work & for people who have the option of not seeking work).

Department for Work and Pensions.

(Perhaps this should the "Department for out-of-Work and Pensions"!)

State payments to the elderly.

(State pensions & other supplements).

Department for Work and Pensions.

Satisfying one-off needs - the Social Fund.

(Loans & one-off grants).

Department for Work and Pensions.

Child-related payments.

(Related to out-of-work benefits).

Department for Work and Pensions.

But these are moving towards an Integrated Child Credit (2003), which will be administered by the Inland revenue.

Child-related payments.

(Universal - Child Benefit).

Department for Work and Pensions, but moving towards the Inland Revenue.

Child-related payments.

(Related to in-work tax credits).

Inland Revenue.

These are moving towards an Integrated Child Credit (2003).

Child related payments:.

(Child support maintenance - not really Social Security).

Child Support Agency, currently part of the Department for Work and Pensions.

(I predict this will move to the Inland Revenue. A better option might be to move it to the Lord Chancellor's Department, but this hasn't been mooted by the government).


(Sor some people in employment - Statutory Sick Pay, SSP).

The person's employer.

Most sickness & disability.

(Out-of-work or otherwise not qualifying for SSP & supplements for those in work & for people caring for these).

Department for Work and Pensions.

(I have speculated that this should move to the Department Of Health).

Accomodation improvement for disabled.

(Disabled Facilities Grant).

Local Authority.


(For some people in employment - Statutory Maternity Pay, SMP).

The person's employer.


(For people not qualifying for SMP).

Department for Work and Pensions.


(Assistance with rent, Housing Benefit & assistance with Council Tax, Council Tax Benefit).

Local Authority.

State support for war-related causes.

(War disability & war widow's pensions, etc).

War Pensions Agency, Ministry of Defence.
etc (There are probably lots more! No wonder it is hard to discover what you are entitled to!)
Page last updated: 17 December, 2003 © Copyright Barry Pearson 2003