Volunteering is great for your mental wellbeing.
It’s a good way to contribute, connect with your community and build up skills and confidence for getting back to work.
However, many people are worried that volunteering might affect their entitlement to benefits. We’ve all heard horror stories about people whose benefits were stopped because their ability to volunteer meant they were considered fit to work. And what about claiming expenses: is that considered an income?
The Department of Work and Pensions has released an up to date guide giving answers to some of these questions. It’s still not completely straightforward. There are lots of “as long as you are able to satisfy the conditions of your benefit” clauses, which require further investigation.
But it does help clear things up a bit. It very clearly states:
“If you are claiming health related benefits this volunteering will not trigger a Work Capability Assessment. The benefits office will not require a doctor’s letter about volunteering.”
The guidance also recommends talking to your local Third Sector Interface (TSI) if you are unsure.
You can download the full guidance here.