Benefit payments may be affected by claiming the attendance fee. This is because it's classed as income by HM Revenue & Customs.

Benefit payments shouldn't be affected by:

  • claiming carer, childcare or support costs (including taxis)
  • claiming expenses, as long as you save your receipts (if you don’t spend the full subsistence allowance, claim for the exact amount on the receipts).

What you need to know

The key things to know about claiming the fee and benefit payments are:

  • The effect of the fee on benefit payments will depend on the type of benefit, and the amount you get.
  • You need to inform your benefits office or Jobcentre that you are involved in NICE work. This is sometimes referred to as 'service user involvement'. If you don't inform them, it could lead to benefit sanctions. 
  • If you receive employment and support allowance (ESA), incapacity benefit (IB) or severe disablement allowance (SDA) you may be able to claim the attendance fee and receive your normal amount of benefit. For more information about this, read the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) ‘Permitted work factsheet’.
  • You can refuse the attendance payment. You can also ask for a lower amount, or ask to donate it to a charity.
  • We can give you a letter for the Jobcentre or benefits office that explains your role as a lay member and what your payments are for. It's best to contact our Public Involvement Programme first so we include the right information. 

For more help

You can get advice from the following organisations about your benefits and how they may be affected.

Independent organisations:

Government organisations:

Refusing the attendance fee

  • You can choose not to claim the attendance fee. You can also choose to claim a smaller amount.
  • Attendance fees you don’t claim should not be classed as income.
  • Not claiming should not affect your tax, National Insurance or benefit payments.
  • If you claim a smaller amount, this may still affect your tax, National Insurance or benefit payments.
  • You can also choose to donate the attendance fee directly to a charity.
  • Even if you refuse the attendance fee, you should still inform your benefits office or Jobcentre that you are involved in NICE work. This is sometimes referred to as 'service user involvement'.