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Will volunteering affect my 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 gov.uk/guidance/volunteering-and-claiming-benefits (opens in new browser tab/window) where many of your additional questions have been answered by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

In addition, the DWP have provided a policy statement (new in 2021) on Volunteering and Work Capability Assessments: please contact us and we’ll send you a copy.

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

The guidance on the gov.uk 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 has now been published since 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 and the remaining questions are now answered by the new 2021 policy statement on Volunteering and Work Capability Assessments.

Does the DWP policy statement on Work Capability Assessments reassure people or are people discouraged from volunteering?

We worked with people directly affected to run an online survey in 2022.  Consequently, a number of recommendations have been made to the UK Government and others by Volunteer Glasgow, Volunteer Scotland, the Scottish Volunteering Forum, the Scottish Sports Association and the TSI Scotland Network.

Click here to view/download the survey summary report and recommendations

Cost of Living crisis: How to avoid putting people’s DWP welfare benefits at risk

Additional guidance is available for groups and organisations on how best to provide volunteers with expenses and/or in-kind support for food, travel, clothing and warm venues. We’ve worked with colleagues nationally and the DWP to provide the guidance.

You’ll find it in the section on “Best Practices” at this link: Volunteer Wiki – Volunteering and UK State Benefits

photo of Allan - VAS - and Denise - DWP - signing Partnership agreementBackground:

If you’d like to know more about how we have worked from 2013 with a range of partners and stakeholders to help DWP produce this new guidance, please see the news items below.


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