Voluntary work and Jobseeker's payments

To get and continue to receive a Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit payment you must be available and looking for work (visit page 17 and read Genuinely seeking work criteria). If you want to do voluntary work, you must first get permission from a Deciding Officer at your local Social Welfare Office. You must also continue to satisfy the conditions of your jobseeker's payment.

A number of factors are taken into account by a Deciding Officer when determining whether the work involved is voluntary, these include:

    
  • The aims and standing of the voluntary organisation (they can be national or local voluntary groups)
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  • The type of work involved
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  • The weekly number of hours worked
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  • Examples of unpaid voluntary work a jobseeker may do include assisting youth clubs, care groups, sports groups, and local residents associations

The voluntary work would normally involve only a few hours a day or a few days a week but full-time involvement in voluntary activities would not necessarily be ruled out. However, there should be no implication of Job Replacement or Cheap Labour. Any payment for the voluntary work should generally be limited to out-of-pocket expenses such as travelling expenses or meal allowances.

Examples of voluntary work in which jobseekers may take up include

    
  • helping the sick, elderly or persons with a disability
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  • assisting youth clubs, church groups, sports groups, cultural organisations, local resident associations

The groups involved may be nationally organised groups or local voluntary or community groups.

The voluntary work would normally involve only a few hours a day or a few days a week but full-time involvement in voluntary activities would not necessarily be ruled out. However, there should be no implication of Job Replacement or Cheap Labour. Any payment for the voluntary work should generally be limited to out-of-pocket expenses such as travelling expenses or meal allowances.

How to Apply

If you want to take up voluntary work and continue to get Jobseeker's Allowance or Jobseeker's Benefit, you must apply under the voluntary work option before you start any voluntary work. To apply, fill in application form - VW1(available from your local Social Welfare Office) and return it to a Deciding Officer in your local Social Welfare Office.

Decisions in relation to Voluntary Work

In considering an application, the Deciding Officer will determine whether the work concerned is voluntary and whether the jobseeker would continue to satisfy the statutory conditions for getting the jobseekers payment. The Deciding Officer will need to be satisfied that the jobseeker is available to take up employment, if offered it, and that they are making genuine efforts to find work. This applies whether the voluntary work is full or part-time.