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Posted by Kath Carron on


Many people have taken advantage of Access to Work, so what is it and how does it work?

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work is a government-funded employment support program in the United Kingdom designed to help people with disabilities or health conditions overcome barriers they may face in the workplace. The program provides personalized support and financial assistance to individuals to help them start or stay in work.

Access to Work can provide various forms of support, including:

  1. Adaptations to the workplace: This may include physical adaptations, such as installing ramps or making adjustments to workstations, to make the workplace more accessible for individuals with disabilities.

  2. Specialized equipment: Funding may be provided for the purchase of specialized equipment, software, or assistive technology that enables individuals to perform their job tasks more effectively. This often takes the form of a height adjustable desk, or a specially adapted ergonomc chair, this could have extras such as a lumbar pump, a thoracic pump or a memory foam seat.

  3. Support workers: Some individuals may be eligible for support workers or job coaches who can assist with specific tasks or provide guidance to help individuals perform their job duties.

  4. Transportation: Financial assistance may be provided for additional transportation costs incurred due to a disability or health condition that makes it challenging to use standard public transportation.

  5. Communication support: For individuals with communication difficulties, Access to Work may fund services such as sign language interpreters or communication support workers.


Who is eligible for Access to Work?

Access to Work is generally available to individuals in the United Kingdom who have a disability or health condition that creates barriers to employment. The eligibility criteria for Access to Work include:

  1. Employment Status: Individuals must be either employed, self-employed, or apprentices to qualify for support through Access to Work. This includes both full-time and part-time employment.

  2. Disability or Health Condition: The program is designed to support individuals with disabilities or health conditions that create barriers to work. This can include physical disabilities, mental health conditions, sensory impairments, learning disabilities, and other health-related issues.

  3. Barriers to Employment: To be eligible, individuals must be experiencing barriers in the workplace due to their disability or health condition. These barriers could be related to the physical environment, job tasks, or communication difficulties.

  4. Jobseekers: In some cases, Access to Work may also provide support to individuals with disabilities who are in the process of seeking employment. This support is designed to help them secure and maintain a job.

  5. Vocational Rehabilitation: Access to Work can provide support for vocational rehabilitation, helping individuals overcome obstacles to employment and participate fully in the workplace.

It's important to note that eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, and the support provided is tailored to the specific needs of each individual. The application process typically involves contacting Jobcentre Plus, the employer, or a vocational rehabilitation agency to initiate the assessment process.

It's advisable for individuals interested in accessing support through Access to Work to contact the program directly or visit the official government website for the most up-to-date and detailed information on eligibility criteria and application procedures.

If I Get a Grant, How Do i Use it?

Using an Access to Work grant involves a process that generally includes the following steps:

  1. Contact Access to Work:

    • Begin by contacting Access to Work to express your interest and discuss your situation. You can apply online or contact Access to Work on the government website.
  2. Needs Assessment:

    • A needs assessment will be conducted to evaluate your specific requirements and the type of support that would best address your barriers to work. This assessment may involve discussions with you, your employer, and relevant professionals.
  3. Support Plan:

    • Based on the assessment, a support plan will be developed. This plan outlines the specific support and adjustments that will be funded through the Access to Work grant. This could include workplace adaptations, assistive technology, support workers, or other accommodations.
  4. Funding Approval:

    • Once the support plan is agreed upon, Access to Work will review and approve the funding for the specified accommodations and services.
  5. Implementing Support:

    • Work with your employer to implement the agreed-upon support. This may involve purchasing and installing equipment, making workplace adaptations, or arranging support workers. Companies such as Emotion Office have specific products suitable for Access to Work grants.
  6. Claiming Costs:

    • You or your employer can claim the approved costs back from Access to Work. This is typically done by submitting receipts and invoices for the expenses incurred. It's important to follow the specific procedures outlined by Access to Work for claiming costs. Specialist companies such as Emotion Office are able to assess your needs, give a quote providing this meets your needs, you will then get a proforma invoice, whch can be paid by your employer.
  7. Ongoing Support:

    • Access to Work may provide ongoing support to ensure that the accommodations are effective and address your needs. Periodic reviews may be conducted to assess whether any adjustments are necessary.
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