Volunteering whilst on Benefits

You can volunteer for any type of organisation whilst on benefits but you need to keep your benefits office informed. Tell the office that pays your benefits about any volunteering that you are planning to do before you start. This includes how many hours you will spend volunteering, how often and what you will do in your volunteer role.

After you have started volunteering, you’ll need to tell the office that pays your benefits about any changes. This includes updates to your volunteering hours or if you stop volunteering. You can ask the organisation you’re volunteering with to give you a letter with this information.

Volunteering whilst on benefits can be a great way to build confidence, gain new skills and develop links that could lead to employment. The UK government says that it is okay to volunteer while receiving benefits, so long as you continue to meet all the conditions of the benefits that you are on.

You can volunteer for as many hours as you like, as long you continue to meet the conditions of the benefit you get. However, you must be prepared to stop volunteering in order to start work. It is worth noting that if you get Universal Credit, your volunteering can count to up to half the time you agree to spend looking for and preparing for work in your ‘Claimant Commitment’.

This information was adapted from the UK Government website. For the most up to date information about volunteering whilst on benefits, visit the Gov.uk website. It is important to be clear about what is expected of you if you do decide to start volunteering.