AbilityNet Factsheet - May 2021

How to apply for an Access to Work grant

This factsheet provides an overview of the Access to Work Scheme, a grant to help disabled people to start or stay in work.

Last updated: May 2021

Access to Work can provide practical and financial support for an individual with a disability or long term physical or mental health condition.

An employer should provide reasonable adjustments so that an individual is not substantially disadvantaged when doing their job. If workplace reasonable adjustments do not cover the help needed then Access to Work is worth investigating by both the employer and employee.

An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support to help someone:

  • Start working
  • Stay in work
  • Move into self-employment or start a business.

Please note that the grant is not for business start-up costs.  

The grant awarded depends on an individual’s circumstances, does not need to be paid back and will not affect other benefits. 

Some of the Access to Work claim may need to be covered by the employer. Access to Work will give advice and guidance to them to raise awareness of the support available to employees with a physical and mental ill health.

Access to Work does not cover the following areas:

  • The Channel Islands
  • Isle of Man

There is a different support for:

Eligibility

To apply for Access to Work support you must:

  • Have a disability or health condition (physical or mental) that makes it hard for you to do parts of your job or get to and from work
  • Be 16 or over
  • Live in England, Scotland, or Wales
  • You also need to have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one. You cannot get a grant for voluntary work. Your job must be based in England, Scotland, or Wales.

Type of support available and how the grant is paid

Your needs assessment will help to identify the type of support required to help you access work, this could be: 

  • Specialist equipment and/or adaptations to equipment used
  • Adaptations or support worker services to help with attending meetings, answering the phone (i.e., British Sign Language Interpreters, lip speakers, video really service support)
  • Help with getting to and from work (i.e., taxi fares)
  • Adaptations to your vehicle so you can get to work
  • Job coaching to help you in your workplace
  • Mental health support

You or your employer will buy the items or services you need, Access to Work will pay the money back (up to the amount offered in the grant and deduct any contributions from the employer/NHS).

Information for employers
A focus on disability inclusion in the workplace brings great rewards for any organisation. If you're an employer, AbilityNet can support you in building a workplace that is inclusive by design and leverages technology to enable all employees to perform at their best. Find out about AbilityNet's workplace services
Information for employees
Every employer must make Reasonable Adjustments to the workplace to prevent discrimination and ensure that their employees can work safely and be productive. They must be pro-active in identifying your needs and respond to those needs in timely and appropriate ways.
AbilityNet's Information for Employees includes suggestions such as creating a ClearTalents profile to help you explore issues you may have relating to a disability or impairment.
If you are a student and are looking for support connected with your studies in higher education, learn more about Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs) and AbilityNet's Student Services
If you are not yet in employment, but are seeking to be, you may find AbilityNet's free resources of interest, including our free accessible, inclusive recruitment webinar.

How to apply

Your employer cannot apply for you. You must do this yourself. 

Talk to your employer before applying to see what adjustments they could make, and discuss with them how Access to Work could help.  

Before you apply check that you are eligible via GOV.UK.

You can apply for Access to Work:

Be Prepared

When you apply, you will need to explain: 

  • How your condition affects you
  • What help you are getting
  • What you think you will need

You will also need to provide:

  • Your workplace address and postcode
  • A contact name in your workplace who can authorise Access to Work payments

The Assessment

After you have applied an Access to Work adviser will contact you, and may contact your employer (they will not contact your employer without prior consent from you). 

An Access to Work assessor may visit you in your place of work.

Following this you may get an offer of support, which could include a grant.

Maintaining the Access to Work Funded Equipment

Your employer owns and is responsible for the equipment it buys through Access to Work. This also means they are responsible for maintenance, insurance, and disposal costs.

If you change your job you may be able to transfer equipment. Talk to the Access to Work support team as well as your employer to see how they can help you.  

This factsheet contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

How AbilityNet can help you

My Computer My Way

My Computer My Way is an AbilityNet run website packed with articles explaining how to use the accessibility features built into your computer, tablet or smartphone. The site is routinely updated as new features and changes are made to the Windows, MacOS, iOS, Chrome OS and Android operating systems. The site is broken down into the following sections:

  • Vision – computer adjustments to do with vision and colour
  • Hearing – computer adjustments to do with hearing, communication and speech
  • Motor – computer adjustments to do mobility, stamina and dexterity
  • Cognitive – computer adjustments to do with attention, learning and memory

Use My Computer My Way for free.

Advice and information

If you have any questions please contact us at AbilityNet and we will do all we can to help.

IT Support at Home

If you’re looking for in-person support, you can book a free visit from one of our disclosure-checked volunteers. Many of our volunteers are former IT professionals who give their time to help older people and people with disabilities to use technology to achieve their goals. Our friendly volunteers can help with most major computer systems, laptops, tablet devices and smartphones.

Digital Accessibility advice for organisations

AbilityNet's Digital Accessibility Services help ensure your websites, apps and other digital services are accessible, usable and comply with current legislation. 

Copyright information

This factsheet is licensed by AbilityNet under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. View a copy of this license

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