Can I get government help to access work?

Yes. The government's Access to Work scheme provides financial assistance towards some of the extra costs of employing you if you have a disability. It is available to employed, unemployed and self-employed people, and can apply to any job, i.e. full-time or part-time, permanent or temporary. It is intended to cover the types of cost that it would not be reasonable to expect your employer to bear without some extra government funding.   

The type of support available includes: 

  • a communicator at job interviews for people with a hearing impairment; 

  • a reader for someone who is blind, or has a visual impairment; 

  • special equipment or alterations to existing equipment; 

  • alterations to premises or to the working environment; and 

  • travel-to-work costs. 

Access to Work also covers up to nine months of mental health support from the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service, delivered by Remploy. 

You can also find out more about Access to Work from this useful Disability Rights UK Factsheet, produced by the charity Disability Rights UK. 

Access to Work is a scheme organised by Job Centre Plus. Your needs should be assessed by an Access to Work Adviser at the Job Centre. If you are unhappy with the support provided, you can ask for the decision to be reviewed. Outside agencies, such as the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), provide advice on adaptations and on making an appeal if you are unhappy with a decision. 

Access to work grants are capped. The current cap (from April 2020) is £60,700 a year. The cap is reviewed every year. 

In 2013, the government launched a new scheme called 'Disability Confident' to encourage employers to recruit and support disabled workers. The government publishes an online list of the employers that have signed up to the scheme. 

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.

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