Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 18

Thread: ESA Support Group & Voluntary work

  1. #1

    ESA Support Group & Voluntary work

    I have been in the SG of ESA for a number of years due to depression and social anxiety. My husband has sadly just passed away and I am feeling even more isolated. I feel that I have to push myself if I am ever going to have some form of meaningful life. At my local library which is literally a 2 minute walk from my home run a Community Transport team. The work would involve minimal social contact and majority of it would be just admin work in an office taking calls and sending e-mails. I feel that this would be an ideal opportunity to start with helping with my condition. However, I am so fearful of losing my benefit that I do not want to do anything to jeopardise it as it is my only form of income and I have no family to help out should I find myself with no income and do not feel capable of meeting JSA criteria. Has anyone else had experience of having mental health issues and still been able to do some form of voluntary work?

  2. #2
    Senior Member RaspberryRipple's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Somewhere, UK
    Posts
    112
    Hi Diztee
    I’m ever so sorry to hear about the very recent loss of your husband.
    I’m also in the SG of ESA.
    I don’t have mental health issues but have been doing voluntary work for the past 5 years.
    The most vital part is that you MUST inform DWP of what you are doing. This included the the location, hours, type of work and any expenses you may receive from your place of work.

    Basically, your work can’t contradict your reason for your ESA claim. I’m paralysed and in a wheelchair full time so if I decide to be a volunteer tree surgeon, circus performer, window cleaner etc then it would be a red flag for potential fraud.

    Its reasonable that they question your motives. However - don’t let this stop you!
    I think it’s absolutely wonderful that you want to do this and it will give you a genuine focus, purpose, routine and a chance to engage with others.
    I started slowly and built up my hours to 12 a week.
    The DWP won’t let you do more than 16 hours per week - this is reasonable.
    Any changes - let them know.

    All the very best,

    Rasy.

  3. #3
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    Posts
    8,015
    If it's voluntary work then you can be paid out of pocket expenses for travel, meals, etc. without it affecting your ESA payments.
    There are no limits on hours for voluntary work.

    If there is any payment (or remunaration-in-kind) above expenses then you have to delcare it as "Permitted Work", it's a simple form.
    Under Permitted Work rules you can work up to 16 hours a week and/or earn up to £131.50 without it affecting your ESA payments.

    As Razzy says the only thing that you have to watch is that the type of work does not contradict the reason(s) why you qualify for ESA.
    eg. If you say that you can't talk to strangers then taking telephone calls at work would bring that into question at your next assessment.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  4. #4
    Senior Member RaspberryRipple's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Somewhere, UK
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    If it's voluntary work then you can be paid out of pocket expenses for travel, meals, etc. without it affecting your ESA payments.
    There are no limits on hours for voluntary work.

    If there is any payment (or remunaration-in-kind) above expenses then you have to delcare it as "Permitted Work", it's a simple form.
    Under Permitted Work rules you can work up to 16 hours a week and/or earn up to £131.50 without it affecting your ESA payments.

    As Razzy says the only thing that you have to watch is that the type of work does not contradict the reason(s) why you qualify for ESA.
    eg. If you say that you can't talk to strangers then taking telephone calls at work would bring that into question at your next assessment.
    That’s interesting nukecad about the hours. I’ve always been told that 16 is the maximum. However when I googled it there was conflicting advice. Mind you I’m guessing if you can work a considerable amount for example a 32 hour week then this will be at odds with your ESA claim.

  5. #5
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    Posts
    8,015
    It's 16 hours if you are getting paid (permitted work), but with unpaid voluntary work there seems to be no limit stated.

    Of course the hours worked would be considered at your next assessment.

    It does seem odd I agree, and I would need to double check the actual legislation to be totally sure.
    (But it's hard to find a rule if it doesn't exist).

    I've told the Jobcentre that I do unpaid voluntary work, answering questions on here and moderating on two other forums.
    They ask about it at my six monthly WFIs, but they have never even asked about hours.
    I've also done exempt work - what they call Permitted Work -, for which I got paid and (usually) filled in a PW1 to keep them happy.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  6. #6
    I think it is terribly hard for those of us with MH conditions to prove that we still have the same difficulties whilst taking on some work - of any sort
    because so many tasks - voluntary or otherwise - involve social interaction of some sort - which most of us struggle with

    I feel that although the system is 'meant' to support people to do things, and perhaps go back to work (through permitted work)
    in reality most of us would lose our ESA the moment they are told

    personally I often end up hurting myself as a result of social interactions, and I know that would continue whether or not I was working
    however I could imagine a scenario where someone does a couple of hours a week, maybe in the back of a charity shop or manning a phone or something - and the ESA decide they need to reassess
    then they turn it all down - and even if that person goes to appeal (and wins) - they would be losing their whole income for anything up to a year- just for the sake of trying to do a couple of hours a week in the 'outside world'

    not really helping someone at all!!

    of course I may be wrong (hmmmmmmm!)
    and I am not currently in a situation where I could do that - but it really frightens me

    I hope I have managed to explain that clearly as it is clear in my head
    and sorry if I have unintentionally offended anyone

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Ditzee View Post
    I have been in the SG of ESA for a number of years due to depression and social anxiety. My husband has sadly just passed away and I am feeling even more isolated. I feel that I have to push myself if I am ever going to have some form of meaningful life. At my local library which is literally a 2 minute walk from my home run a Community Transport team. The work would involve minimal social contact and majority of it would be just admin work in an office taking calls and sending e-mails. I feel that this would be an ideal opportunity to start with helping with my condition. However, I am so fearful of losing my benefit that I do not want to do anything to jeopardise it as it is my only form of income and I have no family to help out should I find myself with no income and do not feel capable of meeting JSA criteria. Has anyone else had experience of having mental health issues and still been able to do some form of voluntary work?
    I am in support group for social anxiety and they tried to put me on JSA because I went to see my doctor by myself once(needing to take diazepam to go was just completely ignored)I only got back in support group because i have a letter from the work programme proving that I can't do work related activity.
    Last edited by Toby123; 10-12-2019 at 06:45 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    Posts
    8,015
    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    I would need to double check the actual legislation to be totally sure.
    ESA regulations 2008 (as revised 30 Nov 2018) reg. 45 Exempt Work, Paragraphs 6(a) & 6(b)
    No hours specified for unpaid voluntary work, so all unpaid voluntary work is "Exempt Work".
    Last edited by nukecad; 10-13-2019 at 01:12 PM.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RaspberryRipple's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Somewhere, UK
    Posts
    112
    Quote Originally Posted by nukecad View Post
    ESA regulations 2008 (as revised 2019) reg. 45 Exempt Work, Paragraphs 6(a) & 6(b)
    No hours specified for unpaid voluntary work, so all unpaid voluntary work is "Exempt Work".
    Excellent Nukecad. Thanks for that. I think many people will find that useful.

  10. #10
    Senior Member nukecad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
    Location
    West Cumbria (Lake District)
    Posts
    8,015
    Now that I'm back on my laptop:

    Exempt work

    45.—(1) The categories of work referred to in regulation 40(2)(f) are set out in the
    following paragraphs.

    {1 to 4 cover earnings and hours for Permitted Work, 5 covers preparation/training for self employment}

    (6) Work done where the claimant receives no payment of earnings and where the
    claimant–
    (a) is engaged by a charity or voluntary organisation; or
    (b) is a volunteer,

    where the Secretary of State is satisfied in any of those cases that it is reasonable for
    the claimant to provide the service free of charge.

    {continues}
    https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/..._301118_en.pdf

    And just for completeness, in the 2013 regulations which are for 'New Style' ESA it's regulation 39.(1)(e)(i) & (ii), which says exactly the same.
    Last edited by nukecad; 10-13-2019 at 01:17 PM.
    I don't know everything. - But I'm good at searching for, and finding, stuff.

    Migration from ESA to Universal Credit- Click here for information.

Similar Threads

  1. writing complaint letter to dwp (Moved from esa support group to work related group
    By redarado in forum Benefits - help & advice on disability benefits, incapacity benefits, ESA and DLA
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 10-01-2016, 06:52 PM
  2. can you do any voluntary work while in the ESA support group
    By Jamesholland235 in forum Benefits - help & advice on disability benefits, incapacity benefits, ESA and DLA
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-16-2015, 03:16 PM
  3. Voluntary work whilst in esa support group.
    By Craig in forum Benefits - help & advice on disability benefits, incapacity benefits, ESA and DLA
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-17-2014, 06:40 PM
  4. Forced voluntary work, WRAG Group
    By Conradstives in forum Benefits - help & advice on disability benefits, incapacity benefits, ESA and DLA
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 01-06-2014, 04:45 AM
  5. Work Related Activity Group - Pre-Existing Voluntary Work
    By OldBat in forum Benefits - help & advice on disability benefits, incapacity benefits, ESA and DLA
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-31-2013, 05:23 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •