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Access to Work information for employers

Access to Work is a publicly funded employment support grant scheme that aims to support disabled people start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support for people who have a disability or physical or mental health condition. Support can be provided where someone needs support or adaptations beyond reasonable adjustments.

An Access to Work grant can pay for practical support to enable your employee to start or stay in work, or to support you if you are self-employed. The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not covered by Access to Work and there is a different service in Northern Ireland.

Access to Work can be used for flexible working arrangements, such as hybrid working. This can include:

  • support to work from more than one location

  • support for working at home for all or part of your time

How can it help me?

Access to Work can support you to:

  • hire disabled people with the skills you need

  • retain an employee who develops a disability or health condition (keeping their valuable skills and saving both time and money recruiting a replacement)

  • show that you value and will support your employees by having good employment policies and practices

Your employee can get support with the extra costs of working they may have because of their disability or health condition, for example:

  • aid and equipment in the workplace

  • adapting equipment to make it easier for them to use

  • money towards any extra travel costs to and from work if they can’t use available public transport

  • money towards any extra travel costs for travel costs within work

  • an interpreter or other support at a job interview where there are difficulties in communicating

  • a wide variety of support workers

  • the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service

  • other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a sign language interpreter

If your staff member has a mental health condition, they will be offered assistance to develop a support plan. This may include steps to support them remaining in or returning to work and suggestions for reasonable adjustments in the workplace.

Examples of assistance to develop a support plan:

  • flexible working patterns to accommodate changes in mood and impact of medication

  • providing a coach/mentor to give additional support at work

  • arranging additional time to complete certain tasks

  • providing additional training

  • regular meetings between you and your employee to talk about their concerns

  • a phased return to work, such as reduced hours or less days

Access to Work does not provide the support itself, but provides a grant to reimburse the agreed cost of the support that is needed.

Mental Health Support Service

The Access to Work Mental Health Support Service:

  • gives advice and guidance to help employers understand mental ill health and how they can support employees

  • offers eligible people an assessment to find out their needs at work and develop a support plan

Who can get Access to Work

To be eligible for support, a person must:

  • have a disability or health condition that means they need an aid, adaptation or financial or human support to do their job

  • have a mental health condition and need support in work

  • be 16 or over

  • be in, or about to start, paid employment (including self-employment)

  • normally resident in, and working in, England, Scotland or Wales – there is a different system in Northern Ireland

  • not be claiming Incapacity Benefit or Employment Support Allowance once they are in work

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

If the person is a civil servant, their employer will provide support instead of Access to Work.

Their condition

If their disability or health condition affects their ability to do the job or they have to pay work-related costs. For example, special computer equipment or extra travel costs because they can’t use public transport.

If an employee has a mental health condition that affects their ability to do the job, and support is required to:

  • start a new job

  • reduce absence from work

  • stay in work

How much will this cost me?

As an employer, you may have to share the cost with Access to Work if the person has been working for you for more than 6 weeks when they apply for Access to Work.

You will only have to share the cost for:

  • special aids and equipment

  • adaptations to premises or equipment

Cost share does not apply to self-employed applicants or to the Mental Health Support Service.

How much will the grant be for?

Access to Work will consider paying grants of up to 100% for:

  • self-employed people

  • people who have been working for less than 6 weeks when they first apply for Access to Work

  • the Mental Health Support Service

  • support workers

  • additional travel to work and travel in work costs

  • communication support at interviews

The level of grant will depend on:

  • whether the person is employed or self-employed

  • how long they have been in their job

  • the type of help required

What will my share of the costs be?

When cost sharing applies, Access to Work will refund up to 80% of the approved costs between a threshold and £10,000. As the employer, you will contribute 100% of costs up to the threshold level and 20% of the costs between the threshold and £10,000.

The amount of the threshold is determined by the number of employees you have.

Number of employees

0 to 49 employees

50 to 249 employees

Over 250 employees

Any balance above £10,000 will normally be met by Access to Work.

If the support also provides a general business benefit, a contribution will be sought in addition to any compulsory cost share.

Maximum amount of grants

Access to Work grants awarded on or after 1 October 2015 are capped. The amount of the cap depends on when the grant was awarded or reviewed.

How someone can claim

Your employee can apply for Access to Work if they need support to get them back to work.

Apply online

The quickest and easiest way to apply for Access to Work is online.

Apply by phone

They can also apply by phoning the Access to Work helpline on:

Telephone: 0800 121 7479
Textphone: 0800 121 7579



Click here for more information 



Amount of threshold




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