Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
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I claim contribution based ESA. Would me starting to volunteer trigger a change to UC?

patnolan123patnolan123 Member Posts: 4 Listener
Hello I am claiming contribution based ESA and have done for a number of years, i’m in the support group. I struggle with my mental health, a volunteer position in my community council has become available, my daughter wants me to try it to help my mental health, but will it trigger a change in my circumstances and will i be forced on Universal Credit, any advice would help thanks. 
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  • Ross_ScopeRoss_Scope Posts: 4,114

    Scope community team

    Hello @patnolan123

    Welcome to the community, how are you today? 

    While claiming contribution based ESA you are entitled to do permitted work, which you can find out more information about here, and it shouldn't trigger any change unless the work you do contradicts the reasons for which you're claiming contribution based ESA.

    Furthermore, contribution based ESA is separate to Universal Credit and you can claim both alongside each other. Your volunteer work shouldn't have any impact on your existing ESA claim.
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  • patnolan123patnolan123 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thank you so much for your help much appreciated. 
  • patnolan123patnolan123 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    I’m worried also if DWP would down grade my ESA to work related because i’m willing to try volunteering.
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,173 Pioneering
    I’m worried also if DWP would down grade my ESA to work related because i’m willing to try volunteering.
    The point of permitted work is to allow you to try work or volunteering without jeopardising the ESA claim. It is only a problem if the nature of the work/volunteering contradicts the reasons you have been getting ESA so volunteering to stack shelves in a food bank is clearly going to raise questions if your health issues relate to having a bad back.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
  • patnolan123patnolan123 Member Posts: 4 Listener
    Thank you so much for your help, When i phoned them up enquiring about volunteer work that would only be two hours the most a month, they have sent me the PW1 04/ 20 for permitted work, the form has no questions about volunteering on it, I don’t think i’ll bother it’s far to stressful. 
  • calcotticalcotti Member Posts: 2,173 Pioneering
    Although the form refers to work, as detailed on the front of the form, ‘work’ includes volunteering. Just fill in the details of what you doing. When it asks about pay just write volunteer.
    Information I post is for England unless otherwise stated. Rules may be different in other parts of UK.
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