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ESA - Caution Volntary Work Part 3 (Read 51 times)
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ESA - Caution Volntary Work Part 3
23.08.12 at 19:25:40
Every care has been taken to ensure that the content of this work is accurate and that legislation and caselaw used is current at the time of writing. However, no responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a
result of any statement in this work can be accepted by the authors.
Eight steps to help ensure the work you are doing is accepted as voluntary work
1.      Find a voluntary work opportunity with a charity or a not-for-profit organisation rather than with a private sector company or a close relative. Preferably arrange the work via a voluntary work bureau or similar agency.
2.      Write to the offices which pay your benefits and inform them that you intend to do voluntary work. Give them details of who you will be working for, how many hours you will be working and what expenses you will be eligible to receive. In connection with your income support, incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance ask the DWP to write and confirm that they accept the work as voluntary work. Donít start until they do.
3.       Donít accept any expenses except those ďwholly, exclusively and necessarilyĒ incurred in connection with your voluntary work placement. This is likely to include:
-      The cost of travel to and from the place where you do your voluntary work and any travel costs you have to meet whilst actually doing the voluntary work. The cost could either be actual fares or a mileage allowance Ė the current inland revenue rates for mileage are: car 40p per mile for the first 10,000 miles, motorcycle 24 p per mile, bicycle 20 p per mile
-      Any phone or postage costs incurred in the course of your voluntary work.
-      The cost of any protective clothing you have to buy in order to carry out your volunteer work.
There may be other expenses you can safely claim, but do be cautious. The best
policy is to accept expenses for receipts or mileage only. If a flat rate is paid for
anything it should be based on a genuine calculation of what the average costs for
volunteers at that particular project are Ė but flat rates are definitely best avoided if
4.      Donít accept any one-off payments whether theyíre called honorariums, bonuses or anything else.
5.      Donít accept any gifts such as Christmas hampers, book tokens or anything else: the DWP may decide they constitute payments in kind.
6.      Donít do any paid work for an organisation for which you are doing voluntary work.
7.      Donít go on any training unless it is directly related to the voluntary work you are doing, otherwise it may be regarded as a payment in kind. This doesnít mean you canít do lots of training, however. Citizens Advice Bureau, for example, offer very extensive training to their volunteers, but the training is absolutely necessary to be able to do the work, as is frequent updating training.
8.       Inform the offices paying your benefits whenever there is a significant change in your voluntary work, such as the hours you do or the duties you undertake.
Guidance issued by the DWP in May 2006 says that if your benefits are paid by
Jobcentre Plus you should also declare your expense payments and have receipts
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