BENEFITS EXPERT: Will doing voluntary work affect my benefits?
Q. I am currently claiming Carer’s Allowance for my son with a top up of Income Support. I have been considering doing volunteer work and wanted to know if this would affect my Carer’s Allowance or Income Support.
A. Volunteering would not prevent you from claiming Carer's Allowance so long as you are able to meet the requirement of providing 35 hours per week of care. This would also be the case for your current Income Support claim. Although volunteer work is generally provided free of charge you will probably find that you will be reimbursed for any expense you might incur as part of your volunteer duties. Provided these are solely incurred in order for you to carry out your role then these will be disregarded as far as your benefits are concerned. Although doing work as a volunteer will not generally have any affect on your benefits you should disclose this to the DWP. This would also apply for anyone getting Universal Credit as a carer instead of a legacy benefit. Any other benefits such as Housing Benefit and Council Tax Support would be unaffected but again it is always advisable to notify your local authority as well as The DWP.
Q. I have some savings which Pension Credit found out about. They stopped my payments for Pension Credit as I expected would happen, but they have also reduced my State Pension. I did not think my State Pension would be affected by my savings?
A. State Pensions are paid based on the National Insurance contributions you have paid or qualified for; they are not affected by your savings. You may however find that you have an overpayment of Pension Credit due to the undeclared savings and this may be being recovered from your State Pension.
If there was an overpayment then the Pension Service should have written to you to explain their decision, the amount and period of the overpayment; the letter would also have explained your right to appeal the decision. You can contact the Pension Service on 0345 60 60 265 to confirm if there is an overpayment being recovered from your State Pension.