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Access To Work

17 January 2010

The Access to Work scheme (ATW) is ostensibly designed to provide help and support to disabled workers to enable them to overcome barriers that they may experience getting work, travelling to work and in the workplace.

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If you qualify for ATW the Government will pay for, or make a contribution in the form of a grant towards, the support you need because of a disability.

Who qualifies for Access To Work?

If you are a disabled person as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act and your health or disability affects the way you do your job and you are:

  • unemployed and starting a new job
  • self employed
  • working for an employer.

The types of support available

If you satisfy the qualifying criteria ATW will contribute all or a proportion of the costs of:

  • adaptations to premises and equipment
  • special aids to employment
  • support workers
  • travel to work costs
  • communication support at Job interviews.

How do you get ATW assistance?

In the first instance discuss the matter with your employer. Your branch officers can help you with this. Then contact the Disablement Employment Adviser (DEA) who are part of the Government's Placement Assessment and Counselling teams based in the local job centre. You will then have to complete an application form stating details of your employment and what type of support you require.

What happens next?

When your application has been approved the Disablement Employment Adviser will contact you and the employer and may visit your workplace to appraise your needs. When a solution has been identified, costed, and agreed the applicant and the employer will receive an action plan from the DEA. It is the employer’s responsibility – or yours if you are self employed – to arrange the agreed support and/or purchase the required aids or adaptations. The approved costs can then be reclaimed from ATW.