Access to Work grant scheme

Access to Work is a government grant scheme which supports disabled people in work. Access to Work might pay for:

  • a British Sign Language interpreter
  • specialist equipment
  • extra transport costs (such as a taxi where no public transport is available)

Access to Work can also pay for assessments to see what you need at work. You can apply for Access to Work up to 6 weeks before you start work.

Get an easy read guide to Access to Work (GOV.UK).

Who is eligible for Access to Work?

You must:

  • be over 16
  • have a condition or impairment that affects your ability to do your job or travel to work
  • be in or about to start paid work (this includes self-employment)
  • live and work in England, Scotland or Wales

Access to Work applies to any paid job. This includes part-time work, temporary work and work trials organised by Jobcentre Plus.

Check if you’re eligible for Access to Work (GOV.UK)

Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support

If you are claiming one of these benefits, you are eligible for Access to Work if you work for more than an hour a week.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

If you're claiming ESA and doing ‘permitted work’, you can get help from Access to Work.

Apply for Access to Work

Your employer cannot apply for you. You must apply for Access to Work yourself. Talk to your employer and work out what adjustments they could make and how Access to Work could help.

Apply for Access to Work (GOV.UK)

When you apply, you will need to explain:

  • how your condition affects you
  • what help you are getting
  • what kind of help you think you need.

You will also need to give:

  • the name and address of your workplace
  • contact details of a relevant person at your organisation.

You can apply online, by phone or ask for a paper form. You can have someone with you to help you explain what’s needed.

Examples of what may be funded

  • Specialist software, such as screen readers
  • A support worker, such as a driver or job coach
  • Adapted equipment, such as chairs and desks
  • Taxi journeys to and from work if you cannot use public transport

What's not covered by Access to Work

  • Changes that your employer must make under the Equality Act 2010 (reasonable adjustments)
  • Support that your employer has provided previously
  • Equipment that is standard for the job

Levels of funding

The level of the funding depends on:

  • if you’re employed or self-employed
  • how long you have been in your job
  • the type of help you need

Access to Work will normally pay 100% of the cost if any of these apply to you:

  • you have been in a job for less than 6 weeks
  • you are self-employed
  • you are funding a support worker, travel to work or interviews, communication support at interviews

If you apply after you have been in the role for more than 6 weeks, your employer might need to contribute towards the cost of things paid for by Access to Work. How much your employer pays depends on:

  • the cost of the adaptations
  • the size of the employer

Access to Work will refund up to 80% of the approved costs between a threshold and £10,000. Your employer will contribute all the costs up to the threshold level and 20% of the costs between the threshold and £10,000.

The threshold depends on the number of employees your employer has.

Number of employeesAccess to Work threshold
0 to 49 employeesNil
50 to 249 employees£500
Over 250 employees£1,000

Access to Work will normally pay any balance above £10,000. The most Access to Work will pay is £59,200 a year.

Access to Work funding is ongoing. Access to Work will review your circumstances and support needs after 3 years or if your condition changes.

Maintaining equipment

Your employer owns the equipment it buys through Access to Work and is also responsible for maintenance, insurance and disposal costs. You may be able to transfer the equipment if you start a new job with a different employer.

Last reviewed by Scope on: 11/02/2019

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