Disabled entrepreneurs and small businesses will benefit from more support to pay for specialised equipment and other costs faced by disabled people in work under changes to the Government’s disability employment programme. The programme, Access to Work, provides financial help towards the extra costs faced by disabled people at work, such as travel costs, specially adapted equipment and support workers.
The changes announced today mean:
- Businesses with up to 49 employees will no longer pay a contribution towards the extra costs faced by disabled people in work, saving them up to £2,300 per employee who uses the fund;
- Disabled jobseekers who want to set up their own business through the New Enterprise Allowance will now be eligible for Access to Work funding from day one of receiving Job Seekers Allowance; and
- Access to Work advisers will be given more flexibility in deciding which equipment is funded through the scheme, offering more choice to disabled people in work.
- The Government will also implement a package of measures recommended by the Access to Work expert panel, chaired by Mike Adams from the Essex Coalition of Disabled People (ecdp).
The measures include funding the physical transfer of equipment, introducing a ‘fast-track’ application process where appropriate, and working with employers to find more imaginative solutions to support individuals. The panel will continue to advise DWP on further reforms to ensure the best use of funding.
Last year the programme helped 30,000 disabled people keep or get employment. Research also shows that around half (45 per cent) of Access to Work customers would be out of work if they did not receive support through the scheme.
19th November 2012