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The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has extended the Access to Work scheme to give disabled people extra financial support so they can work more easily during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to DWP, the scheme extension will play a key role in supporting disabled people to retain, return to and move into employment, as the COVID-19 pandemic is changing the way people work as well as working environments and arrangements.

The Access to Work scheme is designed to help people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition stay in employment. It helps disabled people speak to their employers about the changes they need to make to support them and can provide grants up to £60,000 to make the individual’s job accessible. Grants are personalised to the individual.

The new Access to Work scheme extension will help disabled people when working from home or in the workplace by giving them financial support for special equipment, travel costs and mental health.

Special equipment could include a screen reader, video remote interpreting or support worker services to enable disabled people to work from home more easily.

People who are clinically extremely vulnerable can get new applications for grant funding fast-tracked.

Furthermore, Access to Work funding can now also cover taxi fares and public transport costs, if a health condition prevents the individual from travelling on public transport during the pandemic.

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.”

Disabled people can apply for Access to Work funding through the Government website or via 0800 121 7479. Following a short assessment, disabled people can then start getting support.

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