What is Access to Work?

Access to work is a grant which can help pay for practical support if you have a disability or any other type of health or mental condition.
The grant can be used to help you to either begin work, stay in a job you already have, move into self employment or to start your own business. The grant cannot be used to pay for any business start up costs themselves but only to support you in order to do so.
The actual amount you can receive depends on your own circumstances and the money does not need to be paid back. Your other benefits will not be affected.

Access to Work grants are only available if the employer is based in England, Scotland or Wales. If you are living in Northern Ireland there is a different system in place.

In order to be eligible to receive the grant you will need to be aged 16 or over and either have an interview scheduled, be about to start a new job or work trial, already be in a paid job or self employed, receiving New Enterprise Allowance, or starting work experience. Please note that you cannot receive a grant for any voluntary work.

Your health condition must also either directly affect your ability to do a job, or cause you to have to pay for work related costs such as special modifications to equipment or travel if you are unable to use public transport. Temporary conditions may also be taken into account where they are likely to last at least a year.

Your mental health condition must both affect your ability to do the job, and require support in order to start a new job or to reduce sickness and absence.

There are a few exceptions which may cause you to not qualify for the grant if you receive benefits already. These are incapacity benefit, employment and support allowance, severe disablement allowance, income support, and national insurance credits.

You may still qualify for Access to Work if you earn less than £105 per week and either work as part of a treatment programme to get off your benefits, or supported by someone from a local council or organisation who arranges work for disabled people. This is called ‘supported permitted work’.

If you change job you are able to transfer your grant to another employer and it may be possible to get a different amount of grant.

There is no set amount for the grant and how much you will receive depends on your own circumstances. The money can pay for things such as adaptations to equipment, buying new special equipment, travel costs if you are unable to use public transport, hiring a support worker, training, and any costs to move your equipment if you change location or job.

From 1st October 2015 the Access to Work grant will be capped at £40,800 a year. For any grants given before this date they will be capped at the same amount on 1st April 2018.

In order to claim Access to Work you will need to contact the team at aws.odndpgigvutoulno@w.s.o.k or on 0345 268 8489 (or 0345 608 8753 if you use textphone) Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. You may need certain information such as your national insurance number, workplace address, a workplace contact, tax reference if you are self employed and the name of your New Enterprise Allowance mentor if you have one.

You will also need to print the Access to Work eligibility letter and take it to your employer or to an interview.

When an advisor contacts you, inform them of any help or support that you require.

Photo by: Flazingo Photos “Individual in a Suit” April 27 2014 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution


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