Volunteering on Benefits

Up to date guidelines published by the Department for Work and Pensions can be found by clicking on the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/find-volunteer-placements

This link also provides the option to download the volunteering and benefits booklet.
Changes to the regulations now make it much easier for voluntary work to be carried out. For a more complete overview of these rules, you should contact your local Job Centre, and get their advice, but the following are a guide to the regulations (and should be seen only as guidelines).

Job-Seeker’s Allowance (both Income-Based and Contributions-Based):

You must tell your Advisor at the Job Centre where you sign on that you intend to do some voluntary work, provide the name of the organisation you will be volunteering for (once you know it), tell them about any expenses you may get and keep your Advisor informed thereafter of any changes in your circumstances. There are no restrictions as to the number of hours you can do, but you must continue to comply with the obligations required of you by the Job Centre. You must be able to attend a job interview at 48 hours notice, be able to start a job at 1 weeks’ notice, visit the Job Centre usually every 2 weeks to show you have been job searching, have a Jobseekers Agreement and be actively looking for a full-time paid job while doing things each week to improve your chances of finding work while volunteering.

Disability Living Allowance (for existing claimants up until October 2015):

Your claim will not be affected, provided that you tell your Advisor in advance, that the work you do as a volunteer is not related in any way to the work you were doing before you became disabled, and that you receive no payment other than reimbursement of expenses.

Personal Independence Payment (for new claimants as of 10th June 2013):

Your claim will not be affected, provided that you tell your Advisor in advance, that the work you do as a volunteer is not related in any way to the work you were doing before you became disabled, and that you receive no payment other than reimbursement of expenses.

Employment & Support Allowance (for new claimants as of 27th October 2008):

You must tell your Advisor at the Job Centre, where you sign on, that you intend to do some voluntary work, provide the name of the organisation you will be volunteering for (once you know it), tell them about any expenses you may get and keep the office informed thereafter of any changes in your circumstances. You must be able to attend work-based interviews when asked by the Job Centre. As a volunteer, you can receive payments to cover expenses for travel and in some cases lunch but you must let your Advisor know. You must continue to comply with the obligations required of you by the Job Centre but you can volunteer for as many hours as you like.

Incapacity Benefit (for existing claimants up until 26th October 2008):

Employment and Support Allowance helps people with an illness or disability to move into work. It has replaced Incapacity Benefit and Income Support paid because of an illness or disability.

Income Support (not paid on the basis of incapacity):

Employment and Support Allowance helps people with an illness or disability to move into work. It has replaced Incapacity Benefit and Income Support paid because of an illness or disability.