This is a guide for staff who wish to apply for Access to Work (AtW), or those who want to know more about the process.

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work (AtW) is a publicly funded employment support grant scheme that aims to support disabled people to start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support if you have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition. An easy read version of the AtW website is also available for those with learning disabilities or who have difficulties reading. 

The application to AtW needs to be made directly by you as the staff member.  If you are new in post, please aim to make this application within the first 6 weeks of your employment.

We recommend that you read the information on this page fully before applying for the grant and let our Occupational Health (OH) team and your manager know in the earliest instance if you wish to apply for the grant. This is to avoid delays in receiving your support or equipment.

If you are a line manager and believe a member of your team may need the Access to Work Grant 

You can check your staff member's eligibility to claim the AtW grant online but if you are unsure, please email Occupational Health for advice. If you receive Access to Work documentation for one of your staff members or are aware they wish to make a claim, please complete a referral to Occupational Health and provide any documentation you have received.

How can Access to Work help you?

AtW can provide you with support with the extra costs of working that may occur because of a disability and/or long term physical and/or mental health condition(s). Examples include:

  • Specialist software, such as screen readers
  • A support worker, such as a driver or job coach
  • Mental health support, such as counselling
  • Training or mentoring
  • Adapted equipment, such as chairs and desks
What cannot be funded?

There are some things Access to Work cannot fund, including:

  • Support that you or your employer put in place before you applied to Access to Work
  • Equipment that is standard for the job, such as a standard computer chair (or that is covered the Reasonable Adjustments advice through the University)
  • A diagnosis, such as dyslexia or autism assessments

Who can apply for help from Access to Work?

To be eligible for support you must:

  • Have any condition or impairment that affects your ability to carry out your job or travel to work
  • Be aged 16 or over
  • Be in, or about to start in, your role at the University
  • Be normally resident in, and working in, England, Scotland or Wales
  • Apply for Access to Work up to 6 weeks before you start work. If you are already working, you can still apply but your application may take longer.

University Access to Work procedure

Although you can apply for a grant at any time, to avoid delays in receiving your equipment you should follow the University Access to Work Procedure.

  1. Check eligibility - Confirm your eligibility to apply for the grant.
  2. Make Occupational Health aware - If you think are eligible, please ask your line manager to complete a referral to Occupational Health.
  3. Occupational Health appointment - In your meeting with an Occupational Health Advisor they will be able to identify if you will benefit from applying to Access to Work. 
  4. Make your application - Once you have had a referral appointment with Occupational Health where it is recommended that you would benefit from making an application, you can start the application process. Please ensure you name our Occupational Health Service as your main contact so that we receive the communications from Access to Work. Please note the University or your line manager cannot apply on your behalf.
  5. Access to Work application process - Your application will be allocated to an AtW Case Manager who will contact you to arrange a workplace assessment. This can be done virtually or in the workplace. Once complete, you and the University will be emailed a report with recommendations for support such as equipment, coaching or training.
  6. Access to Work report - OH administrators will review the recommendations for compatibility with the University's own policies and will either purchase what has been recommended or seek advice on alternatives that can be purchased.
  7. Equipment or Services purchased – Equipment and support will be purchased from the central budget held by OH. They will arrange delivery and set up if required. Coaching or training recommendations will be passed onto you, or your line manager once purchased, to coordinate with the organisation directly. Please note there can sometimes be delays in equipment being purchased if the recommended company is a new supplier to the University. 
  8. Equipment (if ordered) - If an individual changes employer, they may be able to transfer equipment to their new employer, but they cannot automatically transfer awards for support workers or travel – they would need to contact the Access to Work team to discuss their new arrangements.

Changes to health circumstances

Please make Occupational Health aware in the first instance to see if another referral is required and then call the Access to Work helpline to report a change in your circumstances. You may get another assessment and a change to the award.

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Contact us
Occupational Health team
Telephone: 01206 872399