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The Government has extended its Access to Work scheme for people with disabilities or physical and mental health conditions to cover support for working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Government has announced the extension of its Access to Work scheme meaning people working from home or in the workplace with a disability will be eligible for extra help, including support for special equipment, travel costs and mental health.
The Access to Work scheme is designed to help people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition stay in employment. The extension of the scheme, which comes after lobbying from Unison, means that people with disabilities will be able to get grant funding for special equipment or support worker services if they need support to work from home because of Covid-19. Such equipment could include a screen reader or video remote interpreting.
The funding could also be fast-tracked for those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group. People who cannot travel to work safely on public transport due to a health condition can also apply for financial support with things like taxi fares. And those who are anxious about returning to work and need support can also get mental health support through Access to Work with a tailored package of support for up to nine months.
Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson said: “In these unprecedented times, it is absolutely right that we continue to support disabled people to pursue employment without barriers. This extension of funding and support will help to protect thousands of jobs which provide vital independence allowing disabled people to reach their full potential.”
UNISON’s assistant general secretary Christina McAnea, who has responsibility for bargaining, negotiations and equalities, said: “I’m delighted the government has listened to UNISON and extended Access to Work so that disabled workers can get the help they need to work from home.
“Many of our disabled members are worried about losing their jobs if they can’t go back to the workplace because of Covid-19. This will help them to keep their job and stay independent.
“But government needs make sure all disabled workers know about Access to Work and that employers don’t force disabled people back to the workplace when it’s not yet safe.”
* To applying for funding visit gov.uk/access-to-work or ring 0800 121 7479.