Access to Work is a government scheme which provides help, advice and financial grants to people whose health or disability affects their ability to do their job.
Through this scheme Access to Work could pay a percentage towards:
- Adaptations to premises or equipment: Modification to premises or equipment to improve accessibility for a disabled person.
- Special aids to employment: Provision of aids and equipment to a disabled person, including Assistive Technology, hardware or software or ergonomic solutions.
- Support workers: Personal support for a person with a disability at a job interview; on their journey to and from work or in the workplace.
- Travel to work: Financial support if a disabled person incurs extra costs in travelling to and from work because of their disability.
- Communication support at interview: Employing an interpreter or communicator to accompany a disabled person, where there might be communication difficulties at a job interview with a prospective employer.
- Training / Mentoring: Training on any new equipment, practices or procedures. Evaluation and creation of coping strategies and guidance to independence.
What you could receive
The amount of help you may receive from Access to Work will vary depending on how long you have been employed, what support you need and whether you are self-employed.
Access to Work can pay up to 100 per cent of the approved costs if you are:
- unemployed and starting a new job
- working for an employer and have been in the job for less than six weeks
Whatever your employment status, Access to Work will also pay up to 100 per cent of the approved costs of help with:
- support workers
- fares to work
- support at interview
Access to Work pays a proportion of the costs of support if all of the following apply to you:
- you‘re working for an employer
- you‘ve been in the job for six weeks or more
- you need special equipment of costs up to £10,000
The precise level of cost sharing is determined as follows:
- Employers with 1 to 9 employees will not be expected to share costs
- Employers with 10 to 49 employees will pay the first £300 and 20 percent of costs up to £10,000
- Employers with 50 to 249 employees will pay the first £500 and 20 percent of costs up to £10,000
- Employers with 250 or more employees will pay the first £1,000 and 20 percent of costs up to £10,000
Changes to the ATW Scheme, October 2015
From October 2015 Access to Work will only provide awards up to a limit set at one and half times average salary (a limit of £40,800 per person per year at October 2015).
This figure will be uprated annually in line with the level of average salaries. Those in receipt of awards above this limit when the cap is introduced will be allowed to continue to receive their existing support until April 2018.
Other proposed changes include:
- The development of a framework for translation services including British Sign Language, aimed at guaranteeing quality standards and setting transparent rates from Summer 2015.
“We will build on this by working with Deaf people and stakeholder groups to undertake a market review of BSL interpretation provision to explore long term improvements in the market.”
- Starting early 2015/16, the Government will look to pilot contracted taxi services for customers across the largest towns and cities.
- From October 2015 eligibility for self-employed awards will be based on the Universal Credit rules.
- Personal budgets to be offered to those with ongoing awards for travel or support.