Access to Work

Individuals aged 16 years and above who are already in or about to start a job or a Work Trial, and have a disability or health condition (as defined by the Equality Act 2010) that is likely to have a long-term (12 months or more) adverse effect on their ability to carry out their job.


Access to Work (AtW) provides practical help to enable individuals to overcome work-related obstacles resulting from a disability. Support can be short term, intermittent or long term.  Examples include: someone to support them at interview; a job coach; an advocate; a travel buddy; or mental health awareness sessions in the workplace for their employer/colleagues. In future, AtW will offer an agreed entitlement for an individual to apply to AtW before they apply for a job; more flexible support; a six-month review; and a trial of funding for micro businesses to cover the costs of temporary absence through ill health.


AtW is administered by a specialist team of Jobcentre Plus staff in three Operational Support Units or ‘contact centres’. Find more information via the Direct Gov website: http://www.direct.gov.uk  > employment > search  by ‘people’ and choose disabled people >employment support >work schemes and programmes.


  • A ‘job’ can include self-employment.
  • AtW support for people receiving benefits and working under Permitted Work rules normally only lasts 12 months (based on the aspiration that an individual should be moving towards open employment after this length of time).
  • Where someone has been employed for more than six weeks before their disability or health condition develops, employers are required to make a greater contribution to the cost of support. When someone starts a new job it can be important to make an application as soon as possible so that the support they need can be put in place as soon as possible. 

Information correct as of 01-May-2011

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