Specialist equipment and adaptations can make all the difference to disabled people aiming to make a success of themselves in the workplace.
What is Access to Work?
The scheme covers a wide breadth of disabilities and thus a huge number of different types of help and assistance are available such as interpreters for Deaf people or readers for people who have a visual impairment. Other assistance is available to meet with additional transport costs that disabled people might be required to pay such as taxi fares and the like.
As long as you are over the age of 16 Access to Work can help you at interview or in employment (including work experience or internships).
Contacting Access to Work within six weeks of commencing employment means that they will consider reimbursing 100% of approved costs such as those put towards travel or special equipment or assistance, to your employer. After this period elapses it will depend on the scale of the organisation involved as to what the grant will look like.
Assistance provided by Access to Work was capped in October 2015 to a maximum of one and a half times the national average salary (£40,800) and will be uprated annually from April this year. Assistance awarded before October 2015 will be honoured until 1 April 2018 if your need remains.
Remploy provide the Workplace Mental Health Support Service on behalf of Access to Work. They supply a range of support for up to six months, including assessing individuals’ needs and tailoring work-focussed mental health support to them, which can lead to a plan that outlines the steps needed to keep a person in employment or help them in returning to the workplace. (They will also advise employers and identify how reasonable adjustments can help.)
Access to Work does not cover…
All employers have a duty to provide reasonable adjustments for disabled employees (Equality Act 2010) which means that Access to Work cannot be used as a substitute to these basic responsibilities. Access to work will also decline funding for items regarded as standard equipment (or costs) that would be needed irrespective of the person being disabled or not.