Shrinking state spending in the UK has been accompanied by a profound restructuring of the welfare system, leading to financial insecurity for many people, culminating in extreme stress and serious deterioration of physical and mental health. Theory surrounding the impact of welfare advice on stress is lacking; this paper undertakes an in depth exploration of the experiences of stress among welfare advice seekers, considering these in light of existing substantive theories of stress and coping to generate new insight. A thematic analysis explored the experiences of stress in welfare advice seekers. Four overarching themes and twelve subthemes emerged. They are further understood utilising traditional theories of stress (Transactional Model of Stress and Coping and the Conservation of Resources theory), which then underpin the development of a ‘Stress Support Matrix’ and a holistic theory related specifically to welfare, stress and coping.