Social Security Advice

FRU has over 40 years' experience of representing clients in all areas of Social Security law. We deal with all aspects of Social Security law that go before a tribunal.

To access our services, cases have to be referred to us through one of our Referral Agencies. We cannot accept referrals directly from members of the public. As we are essentially an advocacy service, providing representation before the First-Tier and Upper Tribunals, we do not accept cases until a tribunal hearing date has been arranged.

How can I be referred to FRU?

Once you have received a hearing date, take your papers to one of our Referral Agencies: Citizens Advice Bureaux, Law Centres, and some Solicitors. Some of our referral agencies are listed on our website.  They will photocopy the bundle of documents which have been prepared for your hearing, complete a referral from which you must sign and forward the case to us.  Additionally, the Referral Agency may be able to advise you more generally or assist with the preparation of your case.  When we receive your papers we record their receipt, and pass them on to our legal officer, who grades the cases according to complexity. They are then made available to our volunteer representatives. Representatives take on a case if it is listed for a day on which they are free and if it is graded appropriately for their experience.

Our volunteer representatives come from a variety of legal backgrounds: from people in the final year of their law degree to very experienced barristers and solicitors. They all represent clients as FRU Representatives, irrespective of their formal qualifications. They are all trained by FRU to do our cases and will not be allowed to take out a case unless they have the relevant experience.

Although we deal with all areas of Social Security Law, we receive a lot of referrals concerning Personal Independent Payment and Limited Capability for Work Assessments for both ESA and Universal Credit. Our volunteers have particular expertise in these areas.  We also represent in a significant number of Right to Reside, Overpayment, and Housing and Council Tax Benefit eligibility appeals.

Because we are dependent on our volunteers' availability, we cannot guarantee to represent every case which is referred to us.  We try to take on as many cases as we can, but we are not able to help everyone who is referred to us.

If we can take your case, a volunteer will make direct contact with you.  Until and unless you hear from us, your safest course of action is to prepare your case on the basis that you will have to represent yourself.  You should try not to be nervous about attending a Tribunal hearing: the judging panel will help you to tell your story by asking you questions about the important issues which affect your case.