Updated: Aug 21, 2020
Those working from home or in the workplace with a disability will benefit from extra help, thanks to an extension of the Access to Work scheme, including support for special equipment, travel costs and mental health.
Included in the scheme is funding that can now cover taxi fares and public transport costs, if a health condition prevents people from travelling on public transport during the pandemic.
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) suggested that COVID-19 is changing the way we work and impacting working environments and arrangements. With many employers asking workers to adapt to a new environment, Access to Work is seen to play a key role in supporting disabled people to retain, return to and move into employment.
Last year, the DWP spent over £129.1 million on Access to Work – a real terms increase of 14% since 2018.
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 support to a record 36,000 people with disabilities and health conditions to do their job.
The scheme can help disabled people speak to their employers about changes they need to support them, and can even provide grants up to £60,000 to keep their job accessible. The grant is tailor-made depended on needs, with each applicant assigned an Access to Work adviser to support them through the process.
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."