What is the government grant called Access to Work? This page explains how the Access to Work scheme works in the United Kingdom.
GET HELP AT WORK: The Access to Work programme provides helpful payments and practical support. It is for individuals with a health condition, mental health condition, or a disability.
Payments from the Access to Work grant can help you:
The amount you receive through the Access to Work grant depends on your personal circumstances.
But, if you are eligible, the money does not affect any other benefits you receive and grant payments do not have to be repaid.
Note: The Access to Work grant does not cover business start-up costs. Some Access to Work rules are different in Northern Ireland.
Your employer must ensure you do not get 'substantially' disadvantaged while carrying out your job. That means employers must make certain 'reasonable adjustments for workers with disabilities'.
It includes things like changing the working hours or providing specialised equipment. You should discuss any opportunities for making reasonable adjustments with your employer. If that fails, you might qualify to apply for Access to Work.
The UK Access to Work grant is available providing your employer is usually based in England, Scotland, or Wales. In some cases you can also transfer the grant and equipment to a new employer if you change jobs.
To qualify for the Access to Work grant you must be 16 years or over and either:
Note: The New Enterprise Allowance or Youth Contract also qualify in some circumstances. You will not qualify for Access to Work eligibility if you live in the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands.
Your disability or health conditions determine whether you will receive the payments. Your condition must affect your ability to perform work or it means you have additional work-related costs. It must also have lasted at least one year or it's expected to last for a year.
Note: An example could be requiring special equipment or needing assistance with special travel costs.
What if your mental health condition affects your ability to do a job? It must also mean you need support to start a new job (or stay in work) or reduce your absence from work.
Getting any of these benefits could mean that you may not qualify for the Access to Work grant:
There are exceptions for the 'supported permitted work' program. It means you could qualify for Access to Work providing you earn less than £120 a week and you:
The Access to Work payments get reviewed annually. They also get capped if the claim took place after the 1st of October 2015.
Currently, Access to Work grant payments has no set amount but you can use the money to pay for:
An adviser will make contact after you apply for Access to Work grant online. They will discuss what kind of help is available for your particular situation.
The adviser may also contact your employer after they have discussed the scheme with you. In some cases, an assessor will visit your workplace to check what special needs will help you.
If you get an offer of support it usually includes a government grant. They will inform you how much the Access to Work payments will be and how long you will get them for.
The next step is for you (or your employer) to buy the items or specialist services that you need. The Access to Work scheme then repays the money - up to the amount of the approved grant. There may be some deductions taken off (e.g. for employer or NHS contributions).
You will need to provide some personal information including:
During the online application you will also need to explain:
Note: There is no need to use the online service to report any circumstantial changes. You should report changes by telephone instead.
You can also apply for the Access to Work grant by telephone. Call their helpline as well to report any changes in a health condition. You may need:
Access to Work
Telephone: 0800 121 7479
Textphone: 0800 121 7579
Monday to Friday: 8am to 6pm
Check call charges to 0800 numbers.
Access to Work
Operational Support Unit
Harrow Jobcentre Plus
Mail Handling Site A
Access to Work advice is available using their helpline telephone number or email address. Contact them also if you want to complain about the way they handled your case.
Access to Work Scheme in the United Kingdom