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 generally does 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 must 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 involves volunteers for genuine reasons.    

- For some other Social Welfare payments such as disability allowance or invalidity pension there may be certain limitations to volunteering permitted and so it is important to check with your Social Welfare office before you being volunteering. Certain other payments do not require approval to volunteer. You can find more details on the Citizens Information website at CITIZENS INFORMATION