The Access to Work scheme is a non-repayable grant issued by the UK government to support people with disabilities and difficulties that directly impact their ability to perform at the same level as non-disabled and neurotypical employees in the workplace. Read on to learn more about the Access to Work scheme and how it could help you overcome barriers in the workplace.
Who is eligible for the Access to Work Scheme?
You could be eligible for the Access to Work scheme if you meet the following requirements:
- You are a paid employee over the age of 16
- You are disabled, neurodivergent or have a temporary or chronic health condition
- Your disability, impairment or condition puts you at a disadvantage in the workplace, affects your working ability or factors relating to being present at work
How to apply for the Access to Work scheme
You can apply for the Access to Work scheme, online, via telephone or by post (click here to get started.)
It is beneficial to inform your employer that you are applying for the Access to Work scheme so that they are aware of your conditions and you can discuss setting a number of adjustments in place to benefit your time in the workplace. The application process will require a number of details from you in order to efficiently assess the levels of support you can be offered and benefit from. These details include:
- Personal details such as name, date of birth, telephone number and email address.
- Information about your workplace such as official name, branch, employer name and confirmation contact.
- Details outlining your condition, disability or impairment and how it affects your ability to carry out work in your line of employment.
- A proposal of the types of support you believe will benefit your ability to work in your current role.
- If you are self-employed, you will need to supply your Unique Taxpayer Reference number.
Once you have received a job offer you can apply for the Access to Work scheme, up to six weeks before your official start date and it can take up to a total of 12 weeks for an application to be completely processed so it is beneficial for employees to apply as early as possible.
What are employees entitled to under the Access to Work scheme?
A key question you may be asking is: “What can I be offered by the Access to Work scheme?” The answer is up to £62,900 worth of support per year.
The offers you receive will be subject to your specific condition, individual needs and how these directly impact your ability to work. The aim of the scheme is to empower disabled people to achieve a level playing field in the workplace.
The forms of support can vary from one type of condition to the next, so here are some examples of equipment and tools that you could benefit from under the Access to Work scheme:
Specific Learning Difficulty Support
Specific learning difficulties which are eligible for the Access to Work scheme include conditions such as Dyslexia, ADHD, Dyspraxia, Auditory Processing Disorder, Visual preceptor/motor difficulties and many more.
Forms of support which can be offered for specific learning difficulties in the workplace include software and programming to aid reading and writing, accessibility adjustment technology such as font change, colour alterations to screen and other visual adjustments. Physical aiding equipment which employees can benefit from include a live scribe pen, adjustment keyboard and laptop.
Mental Health Support
Mental health difficulties are commonly experienced by people in the workplace, however each condition can require a different form of support, depending on the person’s individual needs. Examples of mental health conditions which are eligible for support under the Access to Work scheme include anxiety, depression, BPD, Bipolar disorder, OCD and more.
Jamworks for Business is a great tool that can be offered to employees with a mental health condition as it can help to reduce stress in the workplace during meetings as it will take notes and record the key aspects of what is being discussed. Other forms of supportive equipment can include laptops and printers to encourage employees to work from home if they are struggling with symptoms and unable to come into the workplace. Counselling sessions and a non-medical helper can support employees with mental health conditions and can greatly improve their condition and ability to perform in the workplace.
Physical Disability Support
Examples of physical disabilities which are eligible for support under the Access to work scheme include loss of limbs, limited mobility, arthritis, cerebral palsy, dwarfism and many more.
A useful form of support that the Access to Work scheme can offer employees with a physical disability is transport support. This could be in the form of payment towards getting a taxi to their place of employment if it is not accessible for them to walk, drive or take a bus. Additionally, employees with physical disabilities may be offered equipment to help them adapt to the workplace such as a wheelchair, suitable seating equipment to support them in an office, alternative uniform adaptations and equipment to aid mobility difficulties.
Sensory Disability Support
Sensory disabilities which are eligible for support under the Access to Work scheme include visual impairment, deaf or hard of hearing, sensory processing disorder, autism spectrum disorder and many others.
Examples of solutions can include environment adapting equipment such as noise cancelling headphones/earplugs to help a person with sensory difficulties to feel more comfortable and focused in their workspace. Other forms of equipment can include assistive listening devices and captioning software such as Jamworks for Business, specialised computers and hearing assistance tools such as a microphone or speech to text device, hearing aids and other listening devices. Coaching is another form of support which can be offered to employees with conditions such as autism spectrum disorder to help them learn methods of adapting to their surroundings and managing emotions. BSL interpreters are a form of non-medical helper which can be issued to employees who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Long term Health Condition Support
Employees with long term health conditions that are eligible for support include those with cancer, chronic heart disease, epilepsy, Tourette’s syndrome, chronic illness which impairs your ability to work efficiently, asthma, diabetes and many more.
Forms of support which can be offered with the Access to Work scheme for long term health conditions include rehabilitation adjustments, equipment to adapt to the workplace environment such as computers and software, noise-cancelling headphones and earplugs, non-medical helpers and more.
Jamworks for Business through the Access to Work scheme
Jamworks is assistive tech software that makes meetings more accessible and productive. Harnessing the power of AI and the latest trained GPT models, Jamworks automatically records, transcribes and summarises meetings – empowering you to focus and engage with the conversation, safe in the knowledge that Jamworks will take care of highlighting the most important moments so that you can easily recap what you need to afterwards.
Live captions are provided to support Deaf and hard of hearing employees, while automatic meeting notes can be incredibly useful for people who struggle to listen and write at the same time, such as dyslexic employees, or those who often zone out and subsequently experience stress, such as those with ADHD.
Jamworks for Business enables disabled and neurodivergent employees with conditions to focus and become more productive in the workplace, and provides flexibility for if they are unable to attend a meeting due to health reasons. A Jamworks subscription is one of the most powerful support measures that you may receive through the Access to Work scheme.
Click here to get started with Jamworks for Business today!