Access to Work: getting support in work as a disabled person
What is Access to Work?
Access to Work is a government programme aimed at supporting disabled people to ensure they are not substantially disadvantaged in the workplace. This can include the home if you work there some or all the time.
If your workplace does not or cannot cover the help you need to do your job, you may be able to get help from Access to Work. This aid can take different forms as it is personalized to your needs, including a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace, help with transport going to work, and any special equipment you may need to do things like answering the phone or attending meetings such as an interpreter if you have difficulty communicating.
For an application to be considered, you must:
- have a disability* or health condition (physical or mental) that affects any ability you have to work or get to work;
- be 16 or over, and
- live in England, Scotland or Wales – there’s a different system in Northern Ireland
- your job must be based in England, Scotland or Wales & must have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one – you cannot get Access to Work for voluntary work
*disability means, according to the Equality Act 2010: ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on [your] ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’ →
this can include issues which only become apparent once taking up work such as eyesight problems
You must also be:-
- in paid employment
- in an apprenticeship
- supported intern
- doing self-directed work experience
- on Jobcentre Plus promoted work trial
- going to a job interview
and you may also apply if you have a job offer letter, an interview confirmation or a job lined up.
Any assistance provided by the scheme does not have to be paid back nor affect other benefits, however the existence of certain benefits may mean that you may not be considered for this grant.
Getting certain other benefits could affect whether your application is granted:
- Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support: you can still get help if you work more than one hour a week
- Employment and Support Allowance: can only get Access to Work help if doing ‘permitted work’, or in other words if all of the following apply:
- you earn up to £143 a week
- you work less than 16 hours a week
- it’s been agreed with your work coach
What does Access to Work cover?
The assistance given will be based on your needs – this can pay for a variety of things such as for:
- adaptations to the equipment you use
- special equipment or software
- British Sign Language interpreters and video relay service support, lip speakers or note takers
- adaptations to your vehicle so you can get to work
- taxi fares to work or a support worker if you cannot use public transport – for example, if you use a wheelchair and your journey includes a train station that does not have ramps
- taxi fares to work or a support worker if you cannot use public transport safely because of coronavirus (COVID-19) – for example, if you’re blind and because of this you’re unable to stay apart from other people
- a support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
- personal protective equipment for your support worker, if you employ them yourself
- disability awareness training for your colleagues
- the cost of moving your equipment if you change location or job (1 https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/what-youll-get)
The grant will not cover changes your employer has to make (the ‘reasonable adjustments’) though Access to Work can assess whether your needs can be met by your employer directly, items not needed
for your work whether you have a disability or not and previous support that your employer has stopped providing.
How much will I get?
There is no set amount you may get under the support programme – it is all fact and case specific, but it will only cover what is needed for you to stay in work. The annual cap on the total amount that can be provided, currently set at £60,700. This money will be used to pay the totality of the approved costs.
How do I apply for Access to Work
Contact us if you would like us to assist you with your application.
Or apply direct online on here
But you may also apply by calling the helpline:
Telephone: 0800 121 7479 / Textphone: 0800 121 7579
Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 7479
You can also apply by using the British Sign Language (BSL) video relay service
first check you can use the service, then go to the video relay service
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
If you need any alternative format such as braille, larger print or audio CD, contact the Access to Work helpline to ask them for such format.