Access to Work

Access to Work

Access to Work and Covid-19

During the pandemic Access to Work introduced a number of measures to enable disabled people to move into or retain employment, the measures included:

  • Transporting assistive technology from the workplace to the home environment to support home working and, where this is not possible, AtW will work with the disabled person and their employer to consider new adjustments to support adaptations to standard equipment.
  • Extending timeframes for receiving claims for payments
  • Accepting email claim forms and employer/support signatures via email so customers can shield.
  • Delivering assessments through virtual means to further protect customers.
  • Accepting email claim forms from customers who request this as a reasonable adjustment;
  • Extending Support Worker awards that are coming to an end by 6 months;
  • Prioritising new applications from key workers and those with jobs starting within the next 4 weeks.


How it works

If you’re disabled or have a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job, you can:

  • talk to your employer about changes they must make in your workplace
  • apply for Access to Work if you need extra help

Access to Work can help you in the workplace by providing support needed to meet your needs. The maximum that can be funded is £60,700 per year from April 2020. The scheme can also provide support for people taking part in an apprenticeship. This support can include:

  • special aids, equipment or adaptations you need at work
  • a support worker to help you learn and do your job
  • help with travel if you have difficulties using public transport
  • a communicator at job interviews
  • mental health support including a dedicated service for apprentices.

You may need to provide medical evidence if you are applying for help with travel to work. The British Medical Association (BMA) and Royal College of GPs (RCGP) advises doctors not to charge for completing this form.



For Access to Work purposes, self-employment is:

  • operating a business either on your own account or in partnership, or working for an employer on a self-employed basis
  • operating a franchised business on a self-employed basis
  • possessing a Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number

You can apply for Access to Work support if you are over retirement age (and now do not have to pay National Insurance) but you will need to have accounts for established businesses or a business plan of a standard acceptable to a bank or other financial institution, for example for new businesses.

In the case of self-employed applicants such as entertainers who do not necessarily see themselves as being a business, then a UTR and CV would be appropriate. This will help your adviser in determining whether the business is, or is likely to become, a viable business and therefore eligible for Access to Work support.

Access to Work cannot pay for the costs of setting up a business or cover costs while the business is being formed, this includes, but is not limited to:

  • standard items of equipment
  • support for fact-finding
  • attending courses, seminars or similar events


We're looking for case studies

BASE is in regular discussion with DWP to improve the application and claims process. We have raised a number of concerns around a range of issues including:

  • communications, particularly with third party representation and appointees
  • transmission of personal data
  • rates for support workers and job coaches
  • referencing payments from DWP

Service providers are facing difficulties in a number of areas around applications, communications with DWP, and the claims process. We are looking for detailed and current case studies to illustrate the issues faced when using Access to Work. These should be have the client;'s consent before forwarding to but please contact us first if you'd like to discuss how Access to Work is operating in your experience.



The Government issues guidance about Access to Work. These are regularly updated and the latest versions are:

You'll also find guidance for the arts sector, including easy-read, on our knowlege pages. BSL video information is available

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) issues guidance to its staff about Access to Work claims. We are expecting this to be updated soon.

Please let us know if you've faced any difficulties with applying for Access to Work or in managing claims. We have a website form that you can use to do this. We are in regular contact with DWP about some of the issues being faced by providers about the new Access to Work procedures.


Supported Permitted Work

DWP has ended the 52 week limit on receiving support from Access to Work while on supported permitted work


Supported Internships and traineeships

The application process is different for people wanting to claim Access to Work while on a traineeship or supported internship. You can find the latest guidance on our knowledge pages.



There is a complaints process published on We encourage member organisations to submit detailed complaints to ATW.COMPLAINTSRESOLUTIONTEAM@DWP.GOV.UK and to copy us in at Please let us know if you have any issues about Access to Work that you think we should be aware of.