You should notify the relevant agency before starting at the bureau if you receive Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement
You should notify the relevant agency before starting at the bureau if you receive incapacity benefit (IB), severe disablement allowance, employment and support allowance (ESA), carer’s allowance, industrial injuries disablement benefit, or invalid care allowance (ICA).
ICA is not affected by volunteering unless it prevents you providing care for at least 35 hours each week. There is no limit to the number of hours someone can volunteer whilst in receipt of IB, though in the past some benefits agencies have claimed that volunteers who volunteer regularly and for a substantial (in their view) amount of time could be seen as fit for work.
ESA was introduced on 27 October 2008 and, for new claimants, replaces both IB and income support paid because of disability or incapacity (although all claimants will be reassessed for ESA by spring 2014). The regulations for ESA clearly state that claimants will be allowed to volunteer. The regulations also recognise that reasonable expenses can be reimbursed to claimants who volunteer.
Bureaux can help by providing a letter for the volunteer confirming the number of hours, that these hours are unpaid, and that volunteering is far more flexible and cannot be regarded as the same as paid work.
There are some benefits that are not affected by volunteering and where the relevant agencies do not need to be informed that the person is volunteering. These include; state retirement pension, council tax benefit, housing benefit, statutory maternity pay, maternity allowance, war widow's pension and widow's pension.