New DWP guidance on Access to Work

DWP has issued guidance about claiming Access to Work during the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of flexibilities have finally been agreed but it is difficult to understand why they have taken so long.

Workers can claim Access to Work while working from home as long as they inform the Access to Work helpline of any changes in circumstances. There is no need to report changes if the support needs remain the same.

If workers know what support they need, they do not need to have an assessment. An Access to Work adviser will discuss the award with them and develop a tailored package of support. If an assessment is needed, it will be carried out by telephone during the coronavirus outbreak.

Claimants do not need to get evidence to support their claim for travel expenses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The period for making claims has been extended to 9 months. If you cannot get your employer or your support worker to sign your claim for costs, you can ask them to send you an email instead. The email should confirm that the costs you are claiming are correct. Rather bizarrely, you will need a printer at home to print the email and send it to Access to Work with your claim.

If your award includes costs for a support worker and your circumstances have not changed, the award will be extended for 6 months because of coronavirus. You will still need to apply to renew your award.

Students on a Department for Education supported internship can continue to claim Access to Work for any work-related support needed. It cannot help with educational support.

BASE members have experienced a range of problems with changes to Access to Work processes over the last year but engagement with DWP has proved extremely problematic. We are strongly advising members to complain officially to atw.complaintsresolutionteam@dwp.gov.uk if they have difficulties with the scheme.