Am I eligible for Access to Work?

To be eligible, you must:
  • Have an impairment or health condition that has a long-term substantial adverse effect on your ability to carry out your job
  • Be over 16 years old
  • Be in, or about to start, paid employment - including self-employment - or a work trial
  • Normally live and work in Great Britain
  • Not be claiming Employment Support Allowance once you are in work
Access to Work applies to any paid job, which is part-time or full-time, permanent or temporary.

Support that may be provided

  • Special aids and equipment 
  • Adaptations to equipment
  • Travel to work - you may need to contribute what you would normally have to pay for travel to and from work
  • Travel in work - depends on the type of travel and what the employer would normally be paying
  • Communication support at interviews
  • A wide variety of support workers
  • Awareness training for colleagues
  • Alterations to premises

Levels of funding

The level of the funding will depend on:
  • Whether you are employed or self-employed
  • How long you have been in your job and
  • The type of help you need
If you have been employed for less than 6 weeks when you apply, or if you are self-employed, then the funding will usually be at 100%. Funding will also usually be at 100% for support workers, additional travel to work and travel or communication support at interviews.

If you apply after 6 weeks in a role, your employer will need to contribute to the cost of recommended aids and equipment or adaptations to premises. The level of the contribution will depend on the cost of the adaptations and 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 100% of 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.
  • 0 to 49 employees = nil
  • 50 to 249 employees = £500
  • Over 250 employees = £1,000
Access to Work will normally pay any balance above £10,000 but, if the support also gives a general benefit, it may ask the business to supplement any compulsory contributions.

The Access to Work cap

Since 1 October 2015, if you make a new claim for help under the Access to Work scheme, your maximum yearly award is 1.5 times the national average salary – currently £42,100. This amount changes every April.

If you were already getting Access to Work before the cap applied, your award will be protected until 1 April 2018 if your needs stay the same.

Access to Work funding

Access to Work funding is ongoing, but, if you need further funding after 3 years, Access to Work will review your circumstances and support needs.

Access to Work will aim to arrange support for you as soon as possible, but the length of time will depend on individual circumstances. Discuss any major delays with your adviser and, if necessary, ask for temporary alternatives.

Applying for Access to Work

Access to Work will not refund costs from making reasonable adjustments up to this point. When you apply for Access to Work, you'll get a copy of the information to sign and return. When this is received, Access to Work will assign you an adviser.

Your employer can support your application, but you must contact Access to Work.

Depending on the support you need, an assessor or specialist may come to your workplace or phone you. Let your manager know when this meeting will happen, in case they are needed. 

After the meeting, the assessor will write a report and make recommendations. You will receive the full report and a summary goes to your manager. You should then discuss the best way to implement the recommendations. It’s up to you whether you share the full report with your line manager – it often helps to.

Tips for completing the application form

  • Have all your personal details at hand - National Insurance number, address, telephone numbers and so on.
  • Have the full address, including postcode, of where you work or will work, manager’s name, job title, contact telephone number and if relevant, your start date.
  • Be prepared to explain your condition and how it affects you at work. You will need to show how it affects your ability to do the job.
  • Think about what would help you, for example, taxi to work.
  • Think about what might happen if you are not able to get support – try to base this on past experiences, with examples if possible.
  • You can apply by phone or ask for a paper form. You can have someone with you to help you make the call and explain the details required.

Equipment

Where you or your employer need to buy equipment, send invoices to Access to Work if they are fully funding it. If Access to Work is part-funding equipment, your employer should pay in full and invoice Access to Work for their contribution.

Your employer owns the equipment it buys through Access to Work. They are also responsible for maintenance, insurance and disposal costs.

Apply for Access to Work

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