Access to Work (A2W) is a Department for Work and Pension (DWP) grant scheme that provides money to help people with a disability or long-term health condition stay in work to do their job. Because it is a grant it does not have to be paid back.
When a disabled person is in work, their employer should make ‘reasonable adjustments‘ so that the person is not at a disadvantage when doing their job. Access to Work will look at what reasonable adjustments should be made by the employer and see if they can help.
What does it provide?
- Advice to disabled people, Deaf people (British Sign Language users), people with long-term health conditions and employers.
- An assessment of a person’s needs in the workplace so they know what is available.
- A grant towards the cost of any necessary support, for example, taxi fares, specialist equipment, communication support and/or a support worker.
The grant is worth up to a maximum of £62,900 per person each year. This is the most a person is entitled to for the year 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.
What can it pay for?
- Special equipment or adaptions, for example, specialist software, furniture.
- Taxis to work if public transport cannot be used.
- A support worker or job coach to help in the workplace.
- A mental health support service.
- Disability awareness training for colleagues.
- A communicator at a job interview or in the workplace.
- Moving equipment following a change of location or job.
Travel can include ‘in work’ if a person has to work at different sites or have a role that means they have to work with people in different places. Travel coaching may also be considered to help a person use public transport in the future.
The mental health support service can help a person to manage what makes their mental health worse, to put together a safety plan or to provide a support worker.
Access to Work is provided where a person’s need for support or adaptations as an employee are more than what their employer should legally provide – but there are also a lot of changes that can be made in the workplace that do not cost a lot of money. For example:
- moving someone’s desk to a quieter area if they wear a hearing aid that picks up background noise
- allowing a member of staff to work flexible hours and/or from home
- providing a ‘quiet room’ so a person can take ‘time out’ if they need to
Who can claim the Access to Work grant?
You are eligible to claim the grant if you:
- are over sixteen years old
- normally live and work in England, Scotland or Wales
- have a disability or a health condition that means you need additional support to do your job
You must also be in, or be about to start, paid employment. This means:
- full or part-time paid work, which is permanent, casual or temporary
- you have a job interview
- you are about to start a job or a work trial
- work experience
- an apprenticeship or supported internship
Things to remember
- The employee has to make the application for the Access to Work grant (but your family or employer can help).
- The Access to Work grant cannot be used for unpaid work/volunteering.
- Access to Work will provide a workplace assessment report to help the employee and their employer find the right equipment, coaching/training.
- The sooner a claim is made, the more likely a grant will be awarded.
For more information and to apply for a grant go to the government’s website at Acess to Work: get support if you have a disability or health condition.
You can also find Access to Work guidance in easy read format.