Volunteering while unemployed

Sometimes people in receipt of social welfare want to volunteer but are worried about how volunteering might affect their social welfare payments. The Department of Social Protection will not penalise anyone in receipt of jobseekers benefit or allowance for volunteering, in fact the department wants to encourage it. 

However, there are some points to be aware of: 

- You must still be available for and seeking work, your volunteering should not be a barrier to this

- Your volunteering must be unpaid and with a not-for-profit organisation

- You should inform your local Social Welfare office that you are volunteering. You will be given a form for your chosen voluntary organisation to fill out and return to the Social Welfare office (VW1 form). This form is not to check up on the volunteers but to ensure that voluntary organisations invovles volunteers for genuine reasons.    

- For other Social Welfare payments such as disability allowance or invalidity persion there may be certain limitations to volunteering permitted and so it is important to check with your Social Welare office before you being volunteering.