The Access To Work scheme provides grants to help self-employed and employed people with disabilities pay for practical support so they can achieve more at work.
The money can pay for things like:
- Adaptations to equipment you use
- Special equipment
- Support work, coaching or training
If you are self-employed Access To Work will pay the full cost of equipment or support. If you are employed it will share the cost with your employer.
I am dyslexic and self-employed. The Access To Work scheme has paid for me to get assistive software, training to use it and one-to-one coaching with Sara Kramer a dyslexic support specialist. The total cost of both of these has been £2000, and it’s something I would not have been able to afford on my own.
Being dyslexic in the “information age” can be a real strain. There is so much information to read, type and absorb that I was getting completely overloaded. It got to the point that I could barely use a computer or read a text message without getting a severe migraine.
The Access To Work grant has helped me to achieve a better quality of life because it has helped me to understand my strengths, overcome barriers and organise my own mind.
How it works
To claim or to find out if you are eligible go to the Access To Work website or call them on 0208 426 3110. You will be asked what’s your disability is and a few more questions like your address, national insurance number etc.
You will then be assigned someone at the Department of Work and Pensions who will ask what kind of support you want. You will need to provide a recent tax return to prove you are self employed. I was not asked to provide any evidence that I was dyslexic.
For the assistive software training I was given a list of providers and told to get the best quotes, which I did. For the one-to-one dyslexic support and coaching I provided a proposal from Sara Kramer. It covered things like: improving reading comprehension, planning and structuring written work and spelling strategies. Its important to note that Sara Kramer is Davis System dyslexic practitioner and whilst Access to Work would not have given me the grant to do the Davis System they would happy fund me getting support for improving reading etc. Its about making sure Access to Work get their boxes ticked.
I sent the proposal to my contact at the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) who approved it. This part of the process can take a few days to a few weeks.
When a quote or proposal is approved you will be sent a form. All you have to do is fill in a few details and attach a receipt. You can either pay for the service or products yourself and get reimbursed or the provider can get paid directly so you don’t have to stump up the money.
This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone with a disability to get help and achieve a more productive and enjoyable working life. The sad fact is that in the working place most people don’t want to say they have something like dyslexia because of the stigma attached. Or they don’t associate being dyslexic or dyspraxic as having a disability. So the majority of the money set aside for grants goes unclaimed.
Help to spread the word by sharing this article so more people with dyslexia or any disability can can find out about the Access to Work scheme and get help to achieve a better quality of life.