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Introduction

The UK Government has systems in place to assist those who are disabled to get back into work, or to make life easier if they are already in a paid job.

The following information has been taken from the Government website, and can be found here.

If you’re disabled or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job, you can:

  • talk to your employer about changes they must make in your workplace
  • apply for Access to Work if you need extra help 
Your employer must make certain changes (known as ‘reasonable adjustments’) to make sure you’re not substantially disadvantaged when doing your job. These could include changing your working hours or providing equipment to help you do your job.You should talk to your employer about reasonable adjustments before you apply for Access to Work.

If the help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from Access to Work. You need to have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one. You’ll be offered support based on your needs, which may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace.An Access to Work grant can pay for:
  • special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
  • help getting to and from work
You might not get a grant if you already get certain benefits.The money does not have to be paid back and will not affect your other benefits. There’s a different system in Northern Ireland.
Eligibility

To get help from Access to Work you must:

      • have a disability or health condition (physical or mental) that makes it hard for you to do parts of your job or get to and from work
      • be 16 or over
      • live in England, Scotland or Wales - there’s a different system in Northern Ireland

You also need to have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one. A paid job could include:

        • self-employment
        • an apprenticeship
        • a work trial or work experience
        • an internship

You cannot get a grant for voluntary work. Your job must be based in England, Scotland or Wales. You cannot get Access to Work if you live in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Certain benefits such as Universal Credit, Jobseeker's Allowance or Income Support may affect whether you can get an Access to Work grant.

Employment and Support Allowance

You can only get help from Access to Work if you’re doing ‘permitted work’. It’s permitted work if all of the following apply:

      • you earn up to £125.50 a week
      • you work less than 16 hours a week
      • it’s been agreed with your work coach

You’ll be offered support based on your needs. This may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace, or getting to and from work.

The grant can help pay for items or services you need, including:

    • 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
    • a support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
    • a support service if you have a mental health condition
    • disability awareness training for your colleagues
    • the cost of moving your equipment if you change location or job

Access to Work can also help assess whether your needs can be met through reasonable adjustments by your employer.

You will not get an Access to Work grant to pay for:

    • changes that your employer has to make (reasonable adjustments)
    • items that would normally be needed to do the job whether a person is disabled or not
    • support that your employer used to provide but has stopped

It will help your application if you’ve spoken to your employer about reasonable adjustments before you apply for Access to Work.

Once you’ve applied, an Access to Work adviser will contact you to discuss what help you could get. An adviser may also contact your employer to discuss how Access to Work can support you - they will not contact your employer until they’ve spoken to you.

Depending on your condition, an assessor may visit your workplace to assess your needs.

You may get an offer of support, which could include a grant. If it does, you’ll be told how much you’ll get and for how long.

You or your employer will buy the items or services you need. Access to Work will pay the money back, up to the amount of the grant you’ve been offered and with any contributions deducted, such as employer or NHS contributions.

How to apply

Check you’re eligible before you apply.

To apply online, go to the Government website. To apply online, you’ll need to provide:

    • your workplace address
    • the name, email address and work phone number of a workplace contact - this should be someone who can authorise payment for the items and services in your support offer

You’ll also need to explain:

  • how your condition affects you at work
  • what help you’re already getting
  • what else could help you

To apply by phone, call: 0800 121 7479 or Textphone 0800 121 7579. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. To apply by phone, you'll need: 

    • your National Insurance number
    • your workplace address
    • the name, email address and work phone number of a workplace contact - this should be someone who can authorise payment for the items and services in your support offer
    • your unique tax reference number (if you’re self-employed)