Access to Work benefit

If you want to work but have a disability that makes working a problem, you may be able to get help from the Access to Work scheme.

This provides practical advice to help you overcome these problems. It can also give you grants towards extra employment costs. You can be self-employed, employed or have just accepted a job offer.  

Access to Work is all about your work environment and getting there safely, so it will not pay for things like lunch, snacks or work clothes. 


How do I apply? 

Before you apply, first check that you qualify on GOV.UK

You can apply online or by telephone on 0800 121 7479 or textphone: 0800 121 7579 

An Access to Work adviser will normally phone you. Before the call, it’s a good idea to make a list of the challenges you face in your job; the tasks you are required to do, and how your disability impacts upon them.  

Have a think about: 

  • Getting to work, buses taxis etc, and how much it will cost 

  • What equipment would you need e.g. screen reading software? 

This helps the adviser to fully assess your needs. They may also need to discuss your application with your employer, so they can arrive at the most effective provision.  


What happens next? 

The length of time taken for the process varies depending on individual circumstance. However, if there is too much delay, the adviser should explore temporary alternatives, for example a support worker. 

Once the assessment process has been completed, the adviser will send a letter confirming the amount of grant they approve. The adviser may ask your employer to obtain quotes to arrive at the approved cost. It is the employer's (or self-employed person's) responsibility to purchase and provide the support required and then to reclaim the cost from Access to Work. 

Please note that your employer should not purchase any items until Access to Work has notified you both that they have approved the agreed support. 


How you will receive the benefit?

Equipment – money given to your employer to buy the right equipment.  Usually your employer would buy the equipment and get reimbursed by the Access to Work programme. 

Other expenses – will be paid directly to you, the amount and frequency is in agreement with your adviser. You would normally never receive a lump sum. 


How long should this process take? 

After you apply, an adviser will contact you to discuss what help you could get. This should be within 7 working days. They may also visit your work to assess what help you need. 

You will get a response within 40 working days to tell you: 

a. If you’ll get support 

b. How much you’ll get 

c. How long support will last (this can be up to 3 years – after that you need a review). 


Benefits can be confusing

If you would like some advice please speak with one of RSBC’s specialist benefits advisers, we can also help you complete the application forms and help you to challenge any decisions. 

If you are a parent or guardian or vision impaired yourself and aged 16 – 25 then please call 0203 198 0225 or email   


Published: 8th August 2018

Want to challenge a decision?

Challenging a decision about your benefits

If you disagree with a decision about your benefit, you may be able to challenge their decision. This page explains the process for challenging a decision, what mandatory consideration is and ways to prepare for your challenge.
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