Skip to content

Access to Work Guide

What is the Access to Work Grant Scheme?

Access to Work is a government-funded grant scheme to help people with disabilities - and those with a physical or mental health condition - to start or stay in work. The grant can help pay for specialist software - such as our very own Read&Write for Work software, adapted equipment, a support worker or travel expenses to and from work depending on the needs of the employee.

The level of funding depends on how long the employee has been in their job and the type of support required. Access to Work will normally pay 100% of the cost if the employee has been in the role for 6 weeks or less.


How can the Access to Work Grant Scheme help me?

Access to Work can help pay for support you may need because of a disability or long term health condition, for example:

  • aid, software and equipment in your workplace
  • adapting equipment to make it easier for you to use
  • money towards any extra travel costs to and from work if you can’t use available public transport, or if you need help to adapt your vehicle
  • an interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
  • other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a note taker or lip speaker

If you have dyslexia, examples of the support offered may include:

  • assistive technology software, such as Read&Write for Work
  • accredited training on the assistive technology
  • specialist equipment, such as coloured overlays
  • dyslexia coping strategies training

Is everyone eligible?

You can apply for Access to Work if you:

  • are normally resident in, and working in, Great Britain
  • have a disability or long term health condition that means you need an aid, adaptation or financial or human support to do your job (long term means lasting or likely to last for at least 12 months)
  • have a mental health condition and need support in work
  • are aged 16 or over

You must also:

  • already be doing paid work
  • be about to start work or become self-employed
  • have an interview for a job
  • be about to begin a work trial or start work experience under the Youth Contract arranged through Jobcentre Plus

About your condition

To receive support from Access to Work, your disability or health condition must affect your ability to do a job. The grant can help pay for specialist software - such as Read&Write for Work software, adapted equipment, a support worker or travel expenses to and from work depending on your individual needs.

Are there exceptions?

You might not get Access to Work if you get any of these benefits:

  • Incapacity Benefit
  • Employment and Support Allowance
  • Severe Disablement Allowance
  • Income Support
  • National Insurance credits

However, you may get it for a limited time if you are doing certain types of ‘permitted work’ to help you move off benefits completely.

What support can Access to Work provide?

The grant will only cover the support needed to let you stay in work. It can pay for things like:

  • changes to the equipment you use
  • special equipment
  • fares to work if you can’t use public transport
  • a support worker or job coach to help you in your workplace
  • a support service if you have a mental health condition and you’re absent from work or finding it difficult to work
  • disability awareness training for your colleagues
  • someone to help you at a job interview
  • the cost of moving your equipment if you change location or job

Can I bring my Access to Work provision from my old job to my new job?

If you change employers, you may be able to transfer equipment to your new employer. You cannot automatically transfer awards for support workers or travel. You would need to contact the Access to Work team to discuss your new arrangements.

How can I claim an Access to Work grant?

The quickest and easiest way to apply is online at 

You can also apply by calling Jobcentre Plus on:

  • Telephone: 0800 121 7479
  • Textphone: 0800 121 7579

If you need an alternative way of contacting Access to Work to discuss your needs, you can write to:

Access to Work
Operational Support Unit
Harrow Jobcentre Plus
Mail Handling Site A
WV98 1JE

What will I need to make a claim?

When you contact the Access to Work team, you may need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your workplace address, including the postcode
  • the name, email address and work phone number of a workplace contact, for example your manager
  • the name of your New Enterprise Allowance mentor (if you have one)

Claiming Access to Work during COVID-19

How has COVID-19 impacted on the Access to Work scheme?

  • Access to Work opening hours have been reduced to 9-5pm
  • Face to face assessments have been temporarily replaced by over the telephone assessments where possible
  • Applications from key workers and customers with a job start date in the next 4 weeks are sifted out daily as a priority
  • The amount of time a customer has to submit their claim forms has been extended from 6 months to 9 months
  • Customers can now email approval from their manager/ support worker, rather than providing a wet signature, for requesting Access To Work payments
  • The reasonable adjustment process has been extended to allow customers, who can’t provide hard copy claim forms through the post, to provide them by email instead

Coming Soon - New Blended Support Offer (BSO)

Many employers are asking employees to adapt their working arrangements and environments.  To support disabled people to access these new working arrangements and enable them to retain, return to and move into employment, Access to Work is introducing a new flexible package of support.  

The new flexible BSO offer brings together a package of home working support which can be blended with workplace support and new COVID-19 support to support disabled people.

Additionally, to support disabled people who have been shielding all Access to Work applications from people in the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) group will be prioritised.

Customers can check their eligibility online using the Access to Work information page.

The Blended Support Offer is made up of 3 strands

  • Dual site working
  • Covid-19 support offer for PPE and Social Distancing
  • Home working support offer

More information on BSO will be available soon.

How does Read&Write for Work software help people with disabilities?

Read&Write for Work, is inclusive software from Texthelp, that gives all staff the individualised support they need.

It’s a handy toolbar that integrates seamlessly with all the applications staff already use and can be customised to suit individual needs and preferences.

It helps individuals with neurodiverse conditions that are often invisible, like dyslexiaautismAsperger’sdyspraxia, and ADHD, to become more productive in the workplace.

Features - at a glance

  • ReadWrite Text to Speech Icon

    Hear online text read aloud
    great for proofreading and to give tired eyes a break

  • Read&Write Check It Icon

    Advanced spellchecker and word prediction
    create polished, error-free documents quickly and easily

  • PDF Reader icon

    Unlock PDFs for easy editing
    and have them read aloud or converted into MP3

    • Read&Write Audio Maker Icon

      Convert documents into MP3 files
      for easy offline listening anywhere, anytime, any device

    • Screenmasking Read&Write Icon

      Use screen masking to help you concentrate
      softens screen glare and reduce visual stress

    • Read&Write Scan Icon

      Scan paper documents to digital
      to be easily edited or read aloud

    Useful Resources

    Access to Work Promotional Resources

    Here are some resources to help you promote the scheme to your new employees and to your existing workforce. Add it to your induction programme or share it across your community channels. You’ll also find a handy guide to our inclusive software, Read&Write for Work, that’s already supporting thousands of people with disabilities in the workplace.

    Add Access to Work to your Induction Pack

    We all understand the importance of successfully inducting new recruits to the business. Aside from meeting the legal obligations around workplace safety, a successful induction reduces stress and anxiety associated with starting a new job and helps the employee integrate faster into their role.

    Of course, no recruit is the same so it’s critical that your induction programme is inclusive so that all your recruits feel supported from the moment they walk into your business.

    One of the ways to make your induction programme inclusive is to talk to the new recruit about additional support they may need to help them in their role. The sooner the support is provided the sooner the workplace barriers/obstacles are removed and the employee can focus on the job.

    Get support in work from Access to Work if you have a disability or health condition. Apply now.

    Or, if your application has already been approved. Order your copy of Read&Write for Work today.