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TOPIC: Full-time Volunteering

Full-time Volunteering 8 years 1 month ago #14387

  • psammead124
Hello all,

Having had a look through the DWP booklets about volunteering, I'm a bit lost. I thought you lovely people might be able to help...

I am currently claiming ESA at the entry rate (still awaiting a decision on the medical - I didn't have the WFHRA so who knows...). I have been given the chance to do some full-time volunteering.

As I understand it, full time volunteering is ok on ESA but you're not allowed to claim a subsistence allowance.

If the accomodation and food is automatically provided, rather than being given as money in your hand, does this still count as a subsistence allowance?

If a cash subsistence allowance is offered, am I allowed to turn it down and continue to claim the ESA?

I'd also be grateful to hear any general advice/pitfalls about full time volunteering whilst on ESA.

Thanks ever so much! :blush:


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Re:Full-time Volunteering 8 years 1 month ago #14394


Have you checked out our guide 'Caution, it may not count as voluntary work' in the members area?

It would very definitely be worth getting specific advice from an advice agency before considering undertaking full-time voluntary work whilst claiming ESA.

The rules are that any remuneration can only be for expenses wholly and necessarily incurred in connection with voluntary work. This would include, for example, travel expenses. Lunch is also allowed - after much dispute. But other meals would quite possibly count as payment rather than expenses.

Turning down payment might well also raise questions about whether the work should be counted as voluntary work in the mind of a decision maker.

All in all, it would definitely be wise to get further advice about this before making any decision.
Good luck,


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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

Re:Full-time Volunteering 8 years 1 month ago #14715

  • psammead124
Many thanks Steve - hadn't realised it was such a minefield. I'll definitely take further advice before I decide anything, as you suggest. Nightmare!

Best wishes

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