Can I volunteer if I’m claiming welfare benefits?



In 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) published up-to-date guidance on volunteering for all welfare benefit claimants following a co-design process in Scotland. The guidance was in the form of a PDF document.


Two years later, a refreshed version of the guidance has now been published by the DWP for use across the UK at


Please note:


We have continued to seek additional guidance to outstanding questions from claimants on how volunteering might be treated during (and might influence the outcome of) work capability assessments for people claiming health or disability benefits: we will update you on this when we have further news.

When that further guidance from DWP is available on work capability assessments in the form of an official statement, we plan to: Undertake further work with the DWP and our partners in Third Sector Interfaces/Volunteer Centres to finalise the design then provide master classes for DWP staff across Scotland to ensure the widespread dissemination and consistent application of the guidance.


Consider how we might address the need for any changes to social security policy on the basis of your feedback and the response of claimants and others in the context of the Scottish Government’s new “Volunteering for All” national framework and Glasgow Community Planning Partnership’s Volunteering Strategy (2019-24).

Please discontinue using the 2017 DWP guidance PDF document and instead refer to the reformatted and refreshed version on at the link above.

 Thank You!


Volunteer Glasgow would like to take this opportunity to thank the wide variety of people, organisations and networks who have, since 2013, supported this ongoing partnership work with the DWP to clarify the rules on volunteering for social security claimants. These include (but are not limited to) members of Glasgow’s Poverty Leadership Panel, our partners across the Third Sector Interface/Volunteer Centre network in Scotland, colleagues in the Scottish Volunteering Forum, Citizens Advice Scotland and Scottish Government. It has been a pleasure and a privilege for us here at Volunteer Glasgow to lead and facilitate this partnership work but it has been very much a group effort so thanks to everyone for their input and continued support.


Best wishes,

David Maxwell

Chief Executive




18  Townhead



G66 1NL


T: 0141 578 6680

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