Access to Work (AtW) is a programme run by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and assists people if their health or disability affects the way they do their job. It provides the individual and employer with advice and can support with extra costs that may arise because of disability or health related needs. The individual applies to Access to Work and if specialist advice is required, an assessment may be arranged to analyse the workplace barriers and make appropriate recommendations. The Access to Work adviser then uses the information to help decide on the right level of support.
Head of Access to Work, Rilesh Jadeja, states, ‘we would encourage disabled employees to make use of the Access to Work scheme. If a specialist assessment is required, the employee and where necessary the employer is able to obtain clear advice on the solutions that may be put in place to assist in the workplace. Following the assessment AtW is able to consider what funding may be available to meet any additional needs’.
Capita Symonds provides bespoke disability solutions to employers across the UK. It also provides AtW assessments in the North West, North West and Central England and uses a bespoke IT system called Evaluator to enhance the benefits to employers and employees. Richard Southorn, Associate Director explains the 3 main benefits of the tool, ‘Firstly, with comprehensive question sets imported into the IT tool, we can ensure that the quality of assessments are consistent across all regions.
Secondly, it offers real time reporting and speeds up the time it takes to write a report and submit to Access to Work, and ultimately the customer. Thirdly, there are over 14,000 products and prices in the back end of the system – this provides significant choice of product as well as offering best value to Access to Work.’
Capita Symonds employs over 50 Access professionals with a diverse range of disability skills.
Who is eligible for Access to Work?
An individual is eligible for Access to Work if they are:
- in a paid job
- unemployed and about to start a job
- unemployed and about to start a Work Trial arranged by Jobcentre Plus
- and their disability or health condition stops you from being able to do parts of your job.
What financial assistance is available?
Access to Work can pay up to 100 per cent of the approved costs if the individual is:
- unemployed and starting a new job
- working for an employer and have been in the job for less than six weeks
Whatever the person’s employment status, Access to Work will also pay up to 100 per cent of the approved costs of help with:
- support workers
- fares to work
- communicator support at interview
Depending on the size of the employer, Access to Work pays a proportion of the costs of support if the person needs specific equipment and has been in employment for six weeks or more.