26 August 2020
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has announced that disabled people can now benefit from financial support to work from home, thanks to an extension to the Access to Work scheme.
People who are clinically extremely vulnerable can get new applications for grant funding fast-tracked.
In addition, funding can now cover taxi fares and public transport costs, if a health condition prevents someone from travelling on public transport during the pandemic.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson said: “In these unprecedented times, it is absolutely right that we continue to support disabled people to pursue employment without barriers. This extension of funding and support will help to protect thousands of jobs which provide vital independence allowing disabled people to reach their full potential.”
He highlighted that the funding could help pay for special equipment such as a screen reader or video remote interpreting or support worker services.
For anyone anxious about returning to work and needing mental health support, this will also be available through Access to Work with a tailored package of support for up to nine months. Applying for funding is easy, Mr Tomlinson said, either online at https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work or by phone on 0800 121 7479.
Following a short assessment, help will be available, fast-tracked if someone is in the clinically extremely vulnerable group.
The Access to Work scheme is designed to help people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition stay in employment. Last year, it provided personalised help to a record 36,000 people with disabilities and health conditions to do their job.
“It can help you speak to your employers about changes they need to support you, and can even provide grants up to £60,000 to keep your job accessible.” Mr Tomlinson said. “Your grant is tailor-made to your needs and you’ll be assigned an Access to Work advisor to support you through the process.”
Comment by Peninsula Associate Director of Advisory Kate Palmer
This new development will likely be greatly welcomed by employers who are going to benefit from their disabled employees working more efficiently at home, or even those whose disabled employees may be back in the office but may benefit in the future.
For this reason, employers will be glad to hear of this new development.
It may even open up easier ways for employers who do not currently employ disabled people to offer job accessibility to new disabled staff, especially when they need to work from home.