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Can I volunteer if I’m claiming welfare benefits?

The UK Government web site says:

“You can volunteer and claim benefits if:

  • The only money you get from volunteering is to cover expenses, like travel costs.
  • You continue to meet the conditions of the benefit you get.”

We strongly advise you to look at: (opens in new tab/window) where many of your additional questions have been answered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

The guidance on the web site (link above) was originally published by the DWP following a co-design process in Scotland in 2017.  A refreshed version of the guidance was published in July 2019 by the DWP for use across the UK.  It answers most of the questions put to the DWP in 2017 in Scotland by people volunteering and claiming benefits.

If you wish to speak with someone in confidence about volunteering and benefits, contact one of our advisers at Volunteer Glasgow.

Please note:

  1. We have continued to seek additional guidance to outstanding questions from claimants on how volunteering might be treated during (and might influence the outcome of) work capability assessments for people claiming health or disability benefits: we will update you on this when we have further news.
  2. When that further guidance from DWP is available on work capability assessments in the form of an official statement, we plan to:
    • Undertake further work with the DWP and our partners in Third Sector Interfaces/Volunteer Centres to finalise the design then provide master classes for DWP staff across Scotland to ensure the widespread dissemination and consistent application of the guidance.
    • Consider how we might address the need for any changes to social security policy on the basis of your feedback and the response of claimants and others in the context of the Scottish Government’s new “Volunteering for All” national framework and Glasgow Community Planning Partnership’s Volunteering Strategy (2019-24).
  3. Please discontinue using the 2017 DWP guidance PDF document and instead refer to the reformatted and refreshed version on at the link above.


Thank You!

Volunteer Glasgow would like to take this opportunity to thank the wide variety of people, organisations and networks who have, since 2013, supported this ongoing partnership work with the DWP to clarify the rules on volunteering for social security claimants. These include (but are not limited to) members of Glasgow’s Poverty Leadership Panel, our partners across the Third Sector Interface/Volunteer Centre network in Scotland, colleagues in the Scottish Volunteering Forum, Citizens Advice Scotland and Scottish Government. It has been a pleasure and a privilege for us here at Volunteer Glasgow to lead and facilitate this partnership work but it has been very much a group effort so thanks to everyone for their input and continued support.


Best wishes,

David Maxwell

Chief Executive

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