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Social Security Benefits: Voluntary Work

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL1125, tabled on 15 July 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation study of neighbourhood approaches to loneliness, whether they will set out, and if necessary reconsider, the rules governing volunteering while on benefits.

Answered on

28 July 2014

We recognise that volunteering in the local community can be invaluable in helping benefit claimants, including inactive people, gain new skills and experience that will help them back into work.

In Jobseekers Allowance, claimants are able to volunteer so long as they meet the conditions of claiming, namely looking for and being available for work.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants can do unlimited, voluntary work, it will not affect ESA.

For Universal Credit claimants, advisers will be able to reduce a claimant’s expected hours of worksearch and work preparation activities by up to 50 per cent in order to accommodate voluntary work. However the claimant can continue to do as much voluntary work as they feel they are able to, as long as they continue to meet their other work-related requirements.