Welcome to the Carlow Volunteer Centre

In Carlow Volunteer Centre we are passionate about volunteering and Carlow County is a great place to volunteer. Volunteering enriches communities, gives volunteers an opportunity to develop personally, and puts giving at the heart of how we all live.

Volunteering while unemployed

According to the Department of Social Protection you may volunteer if you are receiving the following payments. Please read this document carefully.

Job-seekers allowance

A person may engage in voluntary work and continue to be entitled to JA provided s/he continues to satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work.


A number of factors are taken into account by a Deciding Officer in determining whether the work involved is voluntary and whether a person would continue to satisfy the conditions for the receipt of JA, and these include:

  • the aims and standing of the voluntary organisation,
  • the nature of the work involved, the weekly number of hours worked.
  • The employment must be truly voluntary and the Deciding Officer must be satisfied that the unemployed person is not engaging in work that would normally warrant liability for the payment of PRSI

The Voluntary Work Option embraces a wide variety of voluntary activities, e.g. assisting the elderly, the sick or the handicapped in their homes or in institutions or assisting voluntary bodies such as youth clubs and resident associations. A person who wishes to apply for payment under the Voluntary Work Option must complete an application form (VW1), which is available from Social Protection Local Offices.

The application form VW1 should be submitted to the relevant Local Office for decision before s/he commences the voluntary work. Job-seekers benefit According to the Department of Social Protection a person may engage in voluntary work and continue to be entitled to JB provided s/he continues to satisfy the conditions of being available for and genuinely seeking work. A number of factors are taken into account by a Deciding Officer in determining whether the work involved is voluntary and whether a person would continue to satisfy the conditions for the receipt of JB, and these include: the aims and standing of the voluntary organisation, the nature of the work involved, the weekly number of hours worked.

The employment must be truly voluntary and the Deciding Officer must be satisfied that the unemployed person is not engaging in work that would normally warrant liability for the payment of PRSI. The Voluntary Work Option embraces a wide variety of voluntary activities, e.g. assisting the elderly, the sick or the handicapped in their homes or in institutions or assisting voluntary bodies such as youth clubs and resident associations. A person who wishes to apply for payment under the Voluntary Work Option must complete an application form (VW1), which is available from Social Protection Local Offices. The application form VW1 should be submitted to the relevant Local Office for decision before s/he commences the voluntary work. Illness benefit or disability benefit If you are receiving illness or disability benefit, according to the Department of Social Protection the you are allowed to engage in: work for which you do not get paid, or work you do as part of treatment while you are a patient in hospital or a similar place, or work you do as an out-worker under a charitable scheme, as long as your weekly earnings are under a certain limit.

You must first get permission from the Department of Social Protection before doing work of any kind. Contact 1890 66 22 44 Disability allowance Please contact Disability Allowance section of the Department of Social and Family Affairs on 1809 66 22 44 or contact your local office. Invalidity Pension A person receiving an invalidity pension may volunteer, with the prior written permission of an officer of the Minister. For further information contact the Department of Social and Family Affairs on 1890 66 22 44 or phone your local office. Blind Person’s pension Please contact the Department of Social Protection on 1890 66 22 44, or phone your local office. All information in this fact-sheet is taken from the Department of Social Protection web site. If you have any queries about any of the information above, please contact the Department of Social Protection on 1890 66 22 44.