Access To Work and ADHD
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Introduction to Access To Work
Access To Work is a UK government programme that grants up to £62,900 per annum to support people with a physical or mental health condition or disability to take up or stay at work.
If you have ADHD, you could qualify for the grant.
An Access to Work grant can pay for practical, life-changing support with the following:
- Starting work
- Staying in work
- Moving into self-employment or starting a business (but not to cover start-up costs)
It is open to all – regardless of being in employment or not, part-time or full time and of total salary.
Getting an Access to Work grant won’t affect any other benefits you receive, and you won’t need to re-pay it. You or your employer may need to pay some costs upfront and claim them back later.
Access To Work can fund adjustments in the workplace or for getting into the workplace. It’s unfortunately not available for those who cannot work or are retired.
What support can I apply for?
An Access To Work grant can provide funding for practical support with your work. The generic list they provides is:
- support and equipment in your workplace
- adapting equipment to make it easier for you to use
- money towards any extra travel costs or to adapt your vehicle
- an interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
- other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a note taker or lip speaker
The following are accomodations that we are aware people with ADHD have successfully asked for:
- ADHD Coaching
- Noise cancelling headphones
- Significant workplace support (a recent substancial award we heard of was someone to help with the filing aspects of a job. The award was a half full-time equivalent (so 2.5 days a week) to come in and assist in filing.
What support can the Access to Work grant cover?
- Support and equipment in your workplace
- Adapting equipment to make it easier for you to use
- Money towards any extra travel costs or to adapt your vehicle
- An interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
- Further practical help at work, such as a job coach or a note taker or lip speaker
The following are accommodations that we are aware people with ADHD have successfully asked for:
- ADHD Coaching
- Noise cancelling headphones
- Significant workplace support. A recent substantial award we heard of was for help with the filing aspects of a job. The award was a half full-time equivalent (2.5 days a week) for an assistant to come in and help with filing.
When you apply for Access To Work support, you fill in an application and if accepted, go through an assessment process where the support you receive is tailored to you. You should be offered assistance to develop a support plan for your workplace, which might include the following:
- Flexible working patterns to accommodate changes in mood and the impact of medication
- Providing a mentor to give you additional support at work
- Giving you additional time to complete specific tasks
- Providing you with additional training
- Regular meetings between you and your manager to talk about your concerns
- A phased return to work, such as reduced hours or fewer days
Access to Work partners will also work with your employer to advise them how best they can support you in the workplace. Your employer should be putting reasonable accommodations in place as well. Any costs are initially paid for by your employer and then refunded from the government.
You will therefore need to speak to your employer about your ADHD.
What do I need to qualify for Access To Work?
Access to Work does not require a diagnosis for you to get assistance; however, having a diagnosis significantly helps (and as a charity, we have heard of claims being refused without a diagnosis).
ADHD is listed as a mental health disability in the Mental Health Act (1990).
To qualify for Access To Work support, you must fulfil the following four criteria you must:
- Have a physical or mental health condition or disability that means you need support to do your job or get to and from work,
- Be 16 or over
- Be in paid work (or be about to start or return to paid work in the next 12 weeks), even when working from home.
- Be employed or self-employed.
- Live and work (or be about to start or return to work) in England, Scotland or Wales. You cannot get Access to Work if you live in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man. There’s also a different system in Northern Ireland.
There are different criteria for job interview support, which you can find on this dedicated government webpage.
Access To Work is an ongoing programme, which means you can access support for three years before your situation is reviewed.
How do I apply?
Go to the gov.uk/access-to-work where you can check your eligibility and to fill in an application.
What happens after I apply?
An assessor from Access To Work will contact you. They generally are employees of contractors to the government to provide Access to Work assessment.
You’ll have a conversation/interview about your work circumstances, what you do in your job and how your condition(s) affects your work to decide the best support to offer you.
The assessor might need to speak to your employer or ask to view your workplace environment. Any funding needs to be approved first, and your employer generally pays first and then gets reimbursed.
The Report & Award
The best way to understand the report is to read one. A generous supporter of ADHD UK has kindly agreed to allow us to publish their anonymised report.
Click the neighbouring report picture panel or click here to view it.
Further Reading – Internal Assessor’s Guidance
You can learn more about the detail of the implementation of Access To Work by reading the government staff guidance. You can access the online version here. Or click the image to the right or click here to download the pdf version.
This is the guidance that the assessors themselves use.
Help us improve this information/ Further Resources
Have you had experience of Access To Work? Share it with us on our ADHD UK Access To Work research survey.
If you are willing to allow us to anonymise and potentially post your Access to Work document please send it to us here. These really help us and other ADHD people understand the process.
Check out our Welfare at work pack information as well on initiating a conversation about ADHD in the workplace.