What is Access To Work?
We explain the ins and outs of this government backed scheme
Access to Work (ATW) is a government scheme run by Jobcentre Plus that covers the financial cost of providing disability solutions that would otherwise not be considered a “reasonable adjustment”. If you want to work but have a disability that makes working a problem you may be able to get help from the access to work scheme. This provides practical advice and support to help you overcome work-related obstacles. It can also give you grants towards extra employment costs. Examples of the kind of help available through Access to Work are:
- A communicator, advocate or BSL interpreter for a job interview or if you have communication difficulties
- Specialist equipment (or alterations to existing equipment) to suit your particular needs
- Alterations to premises or a working environment to make it more accessible
Access to work also offers other help, which includes special aids or equipment for employment and adaptations to premises and existing equipment. ATW can help you work with your disability and achieve better connection with your working life and increase your productivity by providing you with the necessary support to make that positive change.
The Access To Work Process
How do I claim?
Contact the access to work centre directly where you will be offered advice and guidance from an access to work advisor. You can find details of your local work centre by going to https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work/how-to-claim
What is the criteria for eligibility?
You may be able to receive Access to Work support if your disability or health condition has an adverse effect on your ability to carry out your job and you are:
- In a paid job
- Unemployed and about to start a job
- Unemployed and about to start a Jobcentre plus arranged Work Trial
How long does the ATW process take?
The average time can vary depending on the disability solution and how quick your employer is at procuring the recommended solution. Some customers who require more complex and/or bespoke adjustments can take longer.
What is the process from start to finish?
The first thing you need to do is contact the ATW Operational Support Unit that covers the area where you live. You will be asked a few questions to see if you are eligible for the programme. If you are eligible, an application form (ATW1) will be completed over the phone and sent to you. You will need to check the information and return the signed application (ATW1) to the Operational Support Unit.
The Access to Work Adviser will contact you by telephone to assess your individual needs and discuss your circumstances. The Adviser will also need to talk to your employer.
If, following this conversation, it is decided a more technical assessment is required the Adviser will arrange for a contracted external assessor to visit your place of work.
Recommendations of your needs
After the assessment has taken place a confidential report will be sent to the ATW adviser suggesting suitable adjustments, equipment or support you may need and providing details of costs and suppliers.
NOTE: If you are self-employed, the process works exactly the same with you acting as the employer.
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