Volunteering should never affect your Benefits, and is often encouraged by Job Centres as a fantastic way to gain experience and references and to show that you have used your time productively.
It is important to make sure that your volunteering fits into the Department of Work and Pension's (DWP) definition and that you are meeting all of their requirements to ensure that it does not affect your benefits - please see below:
Volunteering is when you choose to give your time and energy to benefit other people without being paid for it. You could do voluntary work with any kind of organisation, including:
• a charity, voluntary organisation or community group;
• a publicsector organisation, like your local council;
• a social enterprise supporting your local community, or
• a local business.
It's not volunteering if you:
• help out a family member;
• are given money apart from your expenses, or
• are under contract to do it (this does not include any 'volunteer agreement' you may have).
The basic rules are that if you get Jobseeker's Allowance, you will still need to be looking for paid work. You must be free to go to an interview if we give you 48 hours' notice. You must be able to start work within one week of us giving you notice. You must not be paid money or anything else for volunteering. It's OK to be paid your expenses but you must tell us what you get. So make sure you can get hold of your receipts.
You must contact Jobcentre Plus if you want to do any volunteering. We will ask you to fill in a simple form telling us about the volunteering you want to do.
Another way to ensure that your voluntary work will not affect your benefits is to consult with your local Volunteer Centre - Fife Voluntary Action is the Volunteer Centre for the Fife Council area. We are able to offer advice and help you to find suitable volunteering opportunities.