Access to work (ATW)

If you have a disability, health or mental health condition, Access to Work is a government scheme which provides a grant to pay for practical support to overcome work related barriers due to disability. The programme is delivered by Job centre Plus.

The grant will cover costs relating to:

  • Beginning work
  • Staying in work
  • Moving into self-employment
  • Starting a business.

Do you have to pay back the grant?
The grant is not given as a loan and therefore does not have to be paid back.

Is there a financial assessment?
You do not have to undergo financial assessment, although in the case of self-employed people, you will need to disclose tax returns or produce a viable business plan. The grant does not affect any other benefits you are claiming.

Employer expenses
Access to Work can help with the cost to an employer of providing practical support for someone to begin or to remain in a job, or be self-employed. You will need to be currently in paid employment or earning an income with self-employment. If you are considering starting up a business, you will be asked to submit a business plan, outlining details of viability in order to start on the scheme.

Financial assistance
The amount of the grant eligible to you is dependent on your needs for the funding. However, if you are in receipt of certain benefits such as income support, ESA, severe disablement allowance and others, depending on your earning level, you may not qualify.

The minimum age is 16 and the grant will not apply to voluntary work or help with start-up costs. It is purely to overcome work related barriers due to a disability or health condition, which must be likely to last for 12 months or longer.

Access to work will pay up to 100% of the approved costs for:

  • The cost of special computer equipment
  • Adaptations to existing equipment
  • Travel costs if you cannot use public transport
  • Disability awareness training for colleagues
  • Communication at a job interview
  • Support service for absence due to a mental health condition
  • A support worker or job coach to help in your workplace

If you change your job, you may be able to get help to transfer equipment to a new job and transfer of a support worker.

You will need to meet with an independent assessor who will conduct an assessment of your needs and this is usually done at your workplace.

To apply
You can apply for an ATW grant online: Or contact them direct at:

Access to Work
Telephone: 0345 268 8489
Textphone: 0345 608 8753
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm

Operational Support Unit
Harrow Jobcentre Plus
Mail Handling Site A
WV98 1JE

For further information about disability at work, including mentoring, advocacy and coaching, please phone 07775445614 or email

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