Volunteering whilst on welfare benefits

We’ve recently received feedback regarding volunteers who are in receipt of welfare benefits.

People who’re volunteering have felt that during their benefits review, there has been a suggestion that they should not be volunteering whilst in receipt of benefits, and that involvement in volunteering implies fitness to work. This has caused high levels of stress and anxiety and even resulted in people choosing not to volunteer.

Our understanding is that this should not be the case. Guidance is available on the NVCO website.

The latest Department for Work and Pensions guidance on volunteering whilst on benefits was withdrawn from circulation at the beginning of the year. We’ve requested an updated version of this leaflet.

As volunteer managers, the clear advice to your volunteers is that they should discuss their volunteering with their benefits adviser. You might want to include this in any first discussions you have with a volunteer before they join your organisation, and then again at their induction. This potentially safeguards volunteers from any nasty surprises. If you or your volunteers experience what you believe to be an incorrect response from the adviser please get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to support you.

If you or anyone volunteering with you has experience of navigating welfare benefits and volunteering, either positive or negative, it would be great to hear from you as it can help us in any contact we have with the Department for Work and Pensions and local JobCentre Plus. We will also share your feedback with NCVO, the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.


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