14/01/2013

Access to Work flagship program expanded for disabled entrepreneurs

There's a bloody huge hole in the UK benefits system that renders disabled people helpless once they're unable to work in the accepted sense. Access to Work looks to address that situation by offering grants to people who may yet have more to offer, despite their physical limitations or mental aptitude.

[caption id="attachment_35967" align="aligncenter" width="646"]access to work, dwp Access to Work - good craic, if you qualify[/caption]

Having read the Government document discerning disability[1] along with the criteria for qualification to the Access to Work grant,[2] it's clear only those with exacting conditions will qualify.

Conditions must be long term; if you've a broken leg that will heal, you'll not be eligible for the Access to Work grant. If you have a degenerative disease like MS or HIV or a condition that, as a result, impedes normal day-to-day activities, then you're in with a shot.

Access to Work for disabled in and out of work


If you are unemployed, you'll need to submit a business plan for your self-employed project that works. It's no use being diagnosed with a long-term condition and thinking you'd like a bit of extra cash.

Access to Work rewards disabled people looking for work - or looking for help within their existing work-based role - who genuinely want to improve their situation.

Many provisions set aside for disabled workers


In an attempt to underline how serious the Government is, there is money and experience set aside to help. If you have a self-employed plan but there are aspects with which you'll need help, you can access a New Enterprise Allowance Mentor[3] through your job centre.

It's worth pointing out that there are exceptions.  If you're already on incapacity benefit, you'll not qualify.  If you're on Jobseekers Allowance and meet the disability criteria, there's a good chance you will.

It's convincing them that you meet the criteria, especially with welfare reform around the corner, where I see the stumbling block for many.  And I do speak with some authority on that point.

Although the money available is termed as a grant it won't need paying back, in most cases. Nor will any additional income you receive towards your entrepreneurial opportunity impact upon the benefit amount to which you're currently entitled.

Access to Work centres in Glasgow, Cardiff and London


There are three centres in the UK:

  • Glasgow

  • Cardiff

  • London


Contact details through the 'qualificant criteria' link, above.  Where you live will determine which one you need to contact. There is a similar scheme in operation in Northern Ireland.

Esther McVey has confirmed that, as of today (14th Jan, '13), providing that disabled people are enrolled in the NEA, they will be eligible for the Access to Work grant.

I say again, and from bitter experience, the hard part will be convincing adjudicating bodies that you meet the disabled criteria. But with half a million disabled people already working for themselves, things may be turning in our favour.

As 2013 is my year of being bold, I'm going to apply for the grant.The DWP can stamp their feet all they like. Reading the 'Cumulative Effects' section in the Disability Guidelines, I know I meet the criteria, despite their almost libelous insistence to the contrary.

I honestly don't know which will be more fun. Qualifying for the grant and starting my own business or shooting the arsey bastards at the DWP down when I refer them to the Cumulative Effects clause outlined within the document.




Have Your Say:

  • Despite your disability, do you feel you still have much to offer to the community and economy?

  • And do you think that the DWP is working to a mandate that refuses issuing disability allowance until a case reaches tribunal?


[1]http://odi.dwp.gov.uk/docs/wor/new/ea-guide.pdf
[2]https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
[3]https://www.gov.uk/moving-from-benefits-to-work/starting-your-own-business