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Volunteering and JSA..........can anyone answer my query??

(16 Posts)
alwayslookingforanswers Sun 13-Sep-09 22:54:20

DH is currently claiming JSA for himself, and for me. The benefits are reduced slightly as I'm "working" hmm (as the church organist lol). I don't have to go and sign on - only him.

I've just found a fantastic volunteering opportunity with Women's Aid in town. The only skill/qualification I don't have is being able to drive - but I do live in the centre of town (so equi-distant to anywhere in this little place) and I know the buses like the back of my hand. Obviously the may say that driving is essential - and if they did fair enough.

But anyhow, I digress. What I want to know is this.........if I do some volunteering with them - will it affect the benefits???

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 14-Sep-09 01:21:37


OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 14-Sep-09 01:27:36

I was a paid worker with WA over a decade ago, and we had a full-time unpaid worker (we didn't call them "voluntary" because that made it sound as if the paid workers weren't there because they wanted to be) who was on benefits. So, it could be done then.

I suspect that you still need to fulfill the criterion of "being available for (paid) work" so you'd need to agree to jack it in immediately if a (paid) job presented itself - check with your local Jobcentre?

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 14-Sep-09 01:31:12

OldLAdy - I don't have to present myself at the job centre at all - nor have I had to sign anything to say I'll be available for work - it's only DH who is claiming "for" me that has had to do that - that's why I'm wondering if it's different.

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 14-Sep-09 01:32:02

oh - and sorry one more thank (as well as thanks for answering) do you think that my lack of driving would be a huge barrier? It's a small town, and I can do everything else they're looking for volunteers to be able to do........

AnAuntieNotAMum Mon 14-Sep-09 01:42:18

I did some volunteering while on JSA recently and they said it was OK so long as I could still prove I was jobseeking and always available for interviews when necessary. I got the feeling that there might be a rule about the number of hours but that the staff didn't want to be bothered with it so just put down that it was a few hours.

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 14-Sep-09 01:43:54

Thanks AnAuntie - still doesn't answer my question though - as I don't currently have to prove I'm job seeking, or be available for interview lol.

AnAuntieNotAMum Mon 14-Sep-09 01:52:41

Not 100% about this but I think it's your DH who is on JSA, not you, in the sense that he gets the couple allowance but it doesn't mean that you have to be actively looking for work, only him, but your income still affects the couple allowance

I think there's a page about volunteering while on benefits on the website

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 14-Sep-09 01:57:03

AnAuntie - I think so too - had a look on there and it's all about the person who has to go and sign on (DH) not me - who like you say isn't actually "on" JSA - but has a person claiming for them.

I might need to ring them (urghh) to check.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 14-Sep-09 02:30:41

Sounds like you're probably OK, but always best to check. The DSS do some weird and wonderful things.

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 14-Sep-09 02:33:13

Yeah I think I'll check.

Do you think that the not being able to drive is going to be a barrier for me???

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 14-Sep-09 12:55:42

It could be; we had refuges that were miles apart, and public transport wasn't always suitable. But you can only ask.

Good luck.

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 14-Sep-09 12:59:34

it's a small town grin

but actually more seriously what it says for this volunteer role is

"The opportunity

Assiting with benefit forms, liasing with agencies
Helping to secure items for resettling families i.e. salvation army/charity shops/general suport to families resettling in the local community
Identifying groups/clubs local amenities to link into.
Working either on your own or with Resettlement Officer.
Need to be flexible would be helpful but a minimum of 2 hours per family would be fine inrespect of escorting to appointments etc.

The organisation

Assisting with benefit forms, liaising with agencies, Helping to secure items for resettling families i.e. salvation army shops/charity shops/general support to families resettling in the local community - identifying groups/clubs local ammenities to link into.


Pratical Skills i.e setting up a new home, able to liaise with services, supporting clients to interviews at benefit agencies, sorting out schools, doctors, dentist etc.
Able to support the clients individual care plan
Able to communicate with client group, motivate and support resettlement plan.
Able to drive
Help with clients budgeting on a low income/planning meals
Helping clients purchase items to set up new home on a budget
Local knowledge of community where client is resettled."

So not sure it's actually working at the refuges(?) - rather than helping those that are moving on?? (totally clueless blush)

OldLadyKnowsNothing Mon 14-Sep-09 14:19:12

It does sound like a "next step" position, yes - maybe you'd need to be able to collect furniture and so on from charity shops etc, when a woman is allocated a new home, hence the driving?

Phone WA and ask.

alwayslookingforanswers Mon 14-Sep-09 19:58:33

shall get this week over and done with (it's my manic week of the month when I have rehearsals, assemblies and mid-weeks children's services to sort - not to mention DS1's birthday on Wednesday) and then ring and ask.

Most of the charities that do furniture round here will fingers crossed that being able to drive is more of an "advantage" than a necessity to help out.

It's so ideal for what I want to do. Want to work with families and children/possibly asylum seekers/refugees/etc etc - (you get the drift - the vulnerable people with children lol) and I'm doing the Working with Families and Children next year (presuming I pass the Introduction to Health and Social care I'm just finishing off). The work they're needing volunteers to do is exactly what I'd hope to be doing in a paid capacity once I've finished next years course - and for the first time in my life I've looked at list of skills/qualifications and can tick all but one of them.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Tue 15-Sep-09 01:49:19

Well, jolly good luck with it all then.

I'm surprised they don't have requirements listed as "essential" and "desirable" - we used to have driving as desirable but somehow ended up with a (quite large) collective with only one, very nervous driver, so revised our job descriptions.

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