People with disabilities could be entitled for a non-repayable grant of up to £60,000 per year to enable them to work from home.
The government’s Access to Work scheme has been extended for the first time this year due to the coronavirus pandemic and allows eligible workers to use the funding for specialist equipment and software.
What is the Access to Work scheme?
The scheme is available for eligible workers aged 16 and over in England, Scotland and Wales who are disabled, or have a physical or mental health condition.
It is designed to help keep people with disabilities in employment, and can pay up to £60,000 per person annually, without any repayments.
The grant was previously only used for support in the workplace, or to help workers to get into the office, but it can now be used to pay for equipment to enable people to work from home.
Those who are eligible can use the grant for various items or services, including:
- Adaptations to the equipment you use
- Special equipment or software
- British Sign Language interpreters and video relay service support, lip speakers or note takers
- Adaptations to your vehicle so you can get to work
- Taxi fares to work or a support worker if you cannot use public transport
- A support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
- Disability awareness training for your colleagues
- The cost of moving your equipment if you change location or job
What isn’t covered by the grant?
Workers cannot use the grant to pay for any reasonable adjustments that their employer has to make, or for support that their employer used to provide but no longer does.
Items that would normally be needed to do the job, whether a person is disabled or not, are also not covered by the grant.
How is the grant paid?
Workers or their employer will be responsible for buying the items or services they require.
The Access to Work grant will then reimburse the money that has been spent, up to the amount that you have been offered and with any contributions, such as employer or NHS contributions, deducted.
Who is eligible?
To be eligible for the Access to Work scheme 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. There is a different system in Northern Ireland
You also need to have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one. A paid job could include self-employment, an apprenticeship, a work trial or work experience, or an internship. You cannot get a grant for voluntary work.
Additionally, your job must be based in England, Scotland or Wales. You cannot get Access to Work if you live in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
How to apply
Applications for the grant can be made online or by calling the helpline on 0800 121 7479.
Workers will need to explain how their condition affects them at work, or getting to work, what help they are already receiving, and what else could be done to help.