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Access to work

If you’re disabled or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job, you can:

  • talk to your employer about changes they must make in your workplace
  • get extra help from Access to Work, including mental health support.
  • Access to Work is a grant not a benefit. The grant is made up of different ‘elements’ depending on the support you need.
Talk to your employer about changes they must make in your workplace

Your employer must make certain changes (known as ‘reasonable adjustments’) to make sure you’re not substantially disadvantaged when doing your job. These could include changing your working hours or providing equipment to help you do your job.

Get help from Access to Work

If the help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from Access to Work.

You’ll be offered support based on your needs, which may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace.

Your workplace can include your home if you work from there some or all of the time.

An Access to Work grant can pay for:

  • special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
  • help getting to and from work

You might not get a grant if you already get certain benefits.

The money does not have to be paid back and will not affect your other benefits.

Click the picture below for an easy read guide to Access to Work (opens PDF in new window)

If the help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from Access to Work.

You’ll be offered support based on your needs, which may include a grant to help cover the costs of practical support in the workplace.

Your workplace can include your home if you work from there some or all of the time.

An Access to Work grant can pay for:

  • special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
  • help getting to and from work

You might not get a grant if you already get certain benefits.

The money does not have to be paid back and will not affect your other benefits.

To get help from Access to Work 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

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.

You’ll be offered support based on your needs. This may include a grant to help cover the costs of travel to and from work or practical support in the workplace. Your workplace can include your home if you work from there some or all of the time.

You can get confidential support and advice from a trained healthcare professional from the Mental Health Support Service. You do not need to have a diagnosed condition to use the service.

To get mental health support you can also contact one of the Mental Health Support Services providers directly.  They are:

You can see the full range of benefits at Gov.uk

You must report any changes of your circumstances as soon as they change as this might have an impact on the grant elements awarded.

You or your employer will buy the items or services you need.

Access to Work will pay the money back, up to the amount of the grant you’ve been offered and with any contributions

Check you’re eligible before you apply.

You can apply for Access to Work online or by phone.

You’ll need to provide:

  • your workplace address and postcode
  • the name of a workplace contact who can authorise your Access to Work payments
  • your workplace contact’s email address or work phone number
  • your unique tax reference number (if you’re self-employed)

You’ll also need to explain:

  • how your condition affects you at work or getting to work
  • what help you’re already getting
  • what else could help you

It will help your application if you’ve spoken to your employer about reasonable adjustments before you apply for Access to Work.

You can apply by calling the Access to Work helpline. Make sure you have all the necessary details with you when you call.

Access to Work helpline

Telephone: 0800 121 7479
Textphone: 0800 121 7579

Relay UK (if you cannot hear or speak on the phone): 18001 then 0800 121 7479
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

After you have applied

Once you’ve applied, an Access to Work adviser will contact you to discuss what help you could get.

An adviser may also contact your employer to discuss how Access to Work can support you. They will not contact your employer until they’ve agreed this with you first.

An assessor may visit your workplace to assess your needs.

You may get an offer of support, which could include a grant. If it does, you’ll be told how much you’ll get and for how long.

Last updated: 05/10/2020

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