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All employees and employers should be aware of the Access to Work Scheme

Updated: Jun 7, 2023


My name is Caz Blake-Symes, I live with Secondary Progressive MS and I’m a fulltime wheelchair user and have impaired vision caused by the MS.

I wanted to personally promote the Access to Work programme which is funded by the Government as not all employers are aware of this excellent scheme.

Thanks to this scheme I work fulltime on a self-employed basis. I work as a consultant and have benefited from this scheme for many years. At present I receive funding for a Personal Assistant for 12 hours a week, however there are numerous ways in which employers can receive financial support.

I feel passionately that far too many people with disabilities are overlooked at the early stages of recruitment, as employers may be concerned about managing any potential limitations. ATW can support with a wide array of options including equipment and work-based adaptations. The grant is awarded via the eligible employee rather than the employer

Here are a few facts that may help, this information is taken from www.gov.uk/access-to-work where full details about applications can be found.


What Access to Work is

Access to Work can help you get or stay in work if you have a physical or mental health condition or disability.

The support you get will depend on your needs. Through Access to Work, you can apply for:

· a grant to help pay for practical support with your work

· support with managing your mental health at work

· money to pay for communication support at job interviews


Practical support with your work

Access to Work could give you a grant to help pay for things like:

· BSL interpreters, 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

Your workplace can include your home if you work from there some or all of the time.

It does not matter how much you earn. If you get an Access to Work grant, it will not affect any other benefits you get and you will not have to pay it back. You or your employer may need to pay some costs up front and claim them back later.


Mental health support

You can get support to manage your mental health at work, which might include:

· a tailored plan to help you get or stay in work

· one-to-one sessions with a mental health professional


Communication support for job interviews

Access to Work can help pay for communication support at a job interview if:

· you’re deaf or hard of hearing and need a BSL interpreter or lipspeaker

· you have a physical or mental health condition or learning difficulty and need communication support


Eligibility

You must have a disability, illness or health condition that means you need support to do your job.

This can include, for example:

· a physical disability, for example if you’re hard of hearing or use a wheelchair

· a learning disability or related condition, for example if you have Down’s syndrome

· a developmental condition, like autism spectrum disorder

· learning difficulties or differences like ADHD or dyslexia

· an illness such as diabetes or epilepsy

· a temporary condition, like a broken leg

· a mental health condition, for example anxiety or depression

You do not need to be diagnosed with a condition to apply for mental health support


Your work

You need to have a paid job (or be about to start or return to one).

A paid job can be full or part-time and can include:

· employment

· self-employment

· an apprenticeship

· a work trial or work experience

· an internship

· a work placement

You cannot get Access to Work support for voluntary work.


The Brightwell is an equal opportunities employer






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