Access to Work is a government led programme primarily designed to provide financial support, in the form of grants, for people with disabilities and health conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS) to help them remain in paid employment. Similarly, it extends to providing help when applying for work at job interviews and once employed, access to support for your mental health and wellbeing.
The scheme is flexible in that it can help finance the needs of the individual in their working environment to cover additional costs they may incur due to their disabilities. Access to Work is there to facilitate payment for the necessary provisions that are not covered by an employer’s obligation to implement ‘reasonable adjustments’. From practical support such as paying for taxi fares to and from work, if alternative transport is not possible, to funding a support worker in the workplace, Access to Work grants open the door to additional bespoke support.
The Access to Work scheme is not means tested and is available so long as you are currently in or are seeking paid employment and require support due to a disability or health condition. You must also be aged 16 or over and live in England, Scotland or Wales. It should be noted that a similar scheme called Access to Work (NI) is available to those who reside in Northern Ireland (NI).
Applications can be made online or by calling the Access to Work Helpline (UK ex NI) on 0800 121 7479 or the Department for Communities on 0800 121 7479 for those who live in Northern Ireland.
Further information about Access to Work and Access to Work (NI), including more details regarding eligibility and making a claim, can be found on the UK government and NiDirect websites.