Access to Work grant scheme

This information applies to England and Wales.

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
  • extra transport costs, such as a taxi where no public transport is available
  • specialist equipment

Maintaining and keeping equipment

Access to Work can also pay for workplace assessors to see what you need at work. Their assessments help work out what changes your employer can make to better support you. You can apply for an assessment for more than 1 job.

You can apply for Access to Work online, by phone or post.

Easy Read guide to Access to Work (GOV.UK)

British Sign Language videos: Access to Work

Who is eligible for Access to Work?

You must:

  • be over 16
  • have any 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)

Access to Work can only assess you if you have confirmed a job offer or during your employment. You cannot be assessed before getting a job offer.

You do not need to be a UK citizen, but you must live and work in England, Scotland or Wales to apply.

Access to Work applies to any paid job of any length of time. 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)

Access to Work can pay for a communication support worker for you to go to a job interview if you:

  • are deaf or hard of hearing and need a British Sign Language (BSL) interpreter or lipspeaker
  • have a physical or mental health condition or learning difficulty and need communication support

Apply for communication support at a job interview (GOV.UK)

Benefits and Access to Work

You do not need to get disability benefits to apply for Access to Work. Any benefits you get will not affect your application.

If you get Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support and work for more than 1 hour a week, you are eligible for Access to Work.

If you're claiming Employment and Support Allowance (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 have to apply for Access to Work yourself.

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

You could also talk to your employer and work out what adjustments they could make and how Access to Work could help.

If they have not heard of Access to Work, you could show them this factsheet for employers.

Apply for Access to Work (GOV.UK)

When you apply, Access to Work will ask:

  • 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 address and postcode of your workplace
  • the name of a workplace contact who can authorise your Access to Work payments

If you’re self-employed, you’ll need your Unique Taxpayer Reference (UTR) number.

When you can apply

You can apply for Access to Work up to 6 weeks before you start work if you have a job offer.

If you are already working, you can still apply but your application may take longer.

Warning If you buy equipment yourself

Get advice before buying equipment. If you buy equipment yourself, you'll only be reimbursed through Access to Work if:

  • you're self-employed
  • or your employer agrees to reimburse the costs and submit a claim to Access to Work

You will also be responsible for paying for any equipment maintenance, insurance and disposal costs.

How long it takes

Your application will be a priority if you are due to start work in the next 4 weeks.

Call the Access to Work helpline if you do not hear about your application within 1 week of applying.

If you are already working, it can take up to 12 weeks to get an assessment.

If you’re on sick leave

You can still apply for an Access to Work assessment if you’re on sick leave. But you will need to ask your employer to approve the assessment.

Support while you wait for your assessment

Your employer can buy specialist equipment once you’ve applied for Access to Work and you’re waiting for your assessment. They may be able to recover the costs once your assessment is complete.

Your employer may decide to set up support for you to travel, such as using taxis or a driver. But Access to Work may not backdate these payments. This is a risk the employer takes.

Examples of what Access to Work might fund

What Access to Work can fund depends on your needs for the job. It might fund:

  • specialist software, such as screen readers
  • a support worker, such as a driver or job coach
  • mental health support, such as counselling
  • training or mentoring
  • adapted equipment, such as chairs and desks

Access to Work can also fund a flexible package of support that enables disabled workers to both work from home and the office.

If you find it difficult to use public transport, you can also get funding for taxi journeys:

  • to and from work
  • to travel for work, for example to a client’s office

You will need to provide 3 quotes including VAT from local authority-registered taxi firms. Access to Work will decide if your use of taxis is ‘reasonable’.

You may need medical evidence to show that you cannot use public transport. This could be a letter from your GP or other healthcare professional.

If you get the mobility component for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), Access to Work will check the medical evidence you gave the DWP first. This is so that you do not have to submit the same information twice. They may ask you for more information if they need it.

What Access to Work cannot fund

There are some things Access to Work cannot fund, including:

  • changes that your employer must make under the Equality Act 2010 (reasonable adjustments)
  • support that you or your employer put in place before you applied to Access to Work
  • equipment that is standard for the job, such as a standard computer chair
  • a diagnosis, such as a dyslexia assessment

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 all 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 need funding for 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.

Depending on the size of your employer, Access to Work could refund up to 80% of approved costs under £10,000. It will normally pay any balance over £10,000, up to £66,000 a year.

Access to Work for employers (GOV.UK)

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

Finding a support worker

Ask your employer if they already use an agency to recruit support workers.

If not, contact your local authority adult social care team or your Access to Work case manager for recommendations.

Find your local council (GOV.UK) 

Using an agency means you will still have support when your support worker is sick or on holiday.

When you employ a support worker through Access to Work, ask your employer to pay. Access to Work payments to your employer usually take 10 working days.

If you have the mobility component of PIP, your employer cannot ask you to use these funds to pay for a driver.

Claiming costs

Access to Work will send you a claim form. You can claim monthly (or weekly if needed). You have 9 months to claim for costs.

If you cannot get your employer or your support worker to sign your claim for costs, you can ask them to email you instead. The email should confirm that the costs you are claiming are correct. You will need to print the email and send it to Access to Work with your claim.

If you cannot leave home or ask someone else to post your claim for costs, ask your Access to Work case manager if you can send your claim by email. They will tell you what you need to do.

Claiming costs online

To claim money from your grant online, you’ll need to create an account on the GOV.UK website.

Claiming money from your grant (GOV.UK)

If you have a question about your payments, contact the Access to Work helpline.

Someone will arrange to call you back within 7 days.


Access to Work will contact you 12 weeks before your support is due to end.

If you would like your support to continue, you will need to apply to renew it.

Maintaining and keeping equipment

Your employer owns the equipment bought through Access to Work and is also responsible for maintenance, insurance and disposal costs.

You may be able to take the equipment to a new job with a different employer or if you become self-employed.

If you move jobs and still have the same adjustment needs, then you can use a Health Adjustments passport to transfer over your Access to Work award without the need for a new assessment.

Keeping disability equipment when you leave your job

If your needs change

Call the Access to Work helpline to report a change in your circumstances.

You may get another assessment and a change to the award.

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

Last reviewed by Scope on: 20/07/2023

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