How does Access to work, work?

Margot

Administrator
Does anyone have any experience of Access to Work? What are they like, what is the process? How does it all works?
 
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feesable

New member
I've just started a convo w/ DWP about my application. it seems that because I've been so broken the last few years I haven't earned enough to make me eligible for it!

the lack of logic behind being "too poor and broken" to merit support from a support program is... very Tory. I wish they'd just be honest and admit they want us to give up and die alone in a corner. but no, they'll just continue only providing support to those who are already rich and healthy.

however I know several people who have got it, and it's really helped them. it's really tricky being able to articulate exactly what you need, and they won't work with you on that - just like they don't even tell you this exists as extra support, you're supposed to have all the answers before asking questions.

I can see your mentoring program could be a great means of that pre-work. so you could help us work out the support we need before we go to A2W and apply for that support (assuming you're eligible).
 

Sata1991

New member
I don't even think they have access to work programmes where I live. I'm lucky in that I'm healthy physically for the most part, but the work schemes keep suggesting jobs I'm not ideal for. (I've got dyspraxia and they suggest jobs in the catering industry or elderly care work)

I had a lady with one scheme keep suggesting I volunteer and threatening to take me off the scheme unless I did, but I've the rent to pay as well as bills so I can't really volunteer my labour for it.

I'm hoping the mentoring program can help identify something, or even a local access to work scheme, as info here in Wales isn't the best.
 

feesable

New member
@Sata1991 - As far as I'm aware, A2W is a GB govt scheme, so it should be available in Wales - https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work
The thing is that they never tell you about it, you have to magically find out, then apply - which of course means jumping through all their judgemental hoops and dragging all your traumas out to show them and prove how broken you are :(
Ironic how these so-called 'supports' are actively designed to cause us harm. but hey, if you have any fight left in you, it's worth shoving some in their direction.

I managed to get them to at least refer me for assessment. still not holding my breath it'll come to anything, but it's worth a try.


I don't even think they have access to work programmes where I live. I'm lucky in that I'm healthy physically for the most part, but the work schemes keep suggesting jobs I'm not ideal for. (I've got dyspraxia and they suggest jobs in the catering industry or elderly care work)

I had a lady with one scheme keep suggesting I volunteer and threatening to take me off the scheme unless I did, but I've the rent to pay as well as bills so I can't really volunteer my labour for it.

I'm hoping the mentoring program can help identify something, or even a local access to work scheme, as info here in Wales isn't the best.
 

Sata1991

New member
I had a friend in England who has done it, and got paid work but I wasn't too sure if there was something else there, too. As he has his mum fighting his corner to help get something beneficial.

Yeah...I know what you mean about digging through traumas, I had an awkward moment with Prince's Trust regarding that. Thanks for the link, it seems like it's more for people working at the moment, but if I'm lucky and get something I'll give it a go.
 

feesable

New member
i'm not working at the moment either.

you do have to fight for it - they first told me i hadn't earned enough in the last 3yrs to be eligible, but i argued that that's exactly why i need the help getting back to work! i asked where else you're supposed to go when you're at rock bottom if not them/this, and mentioned the good old discrimination word. they're now organising an assessment date. they may well find other reasons to reject me (rejection is the DWP way, after all), but I'm pushing as far as I can go.

I have a bit of occasional support from someone at our local grassroots Autism group. if you can find your local group (you can ask CAB, or google) they will know this process and be able to guide you through it and stand up for you during assessments etc. it makes a huge difference. i'd have given up on PIP too if it weren't for them.

worth mentioning - fortunately they're preferencing email comms these days over phonecalls because they're working from home, so you get a papertrail (and you can request that as a reasonable adjustment anyway... not that they always listen). you can record the phonecalls, but it's not legal unless they have granted permission, and they never grant permission. if you have an assessment you can request it be on zoom and not via phone, and when I do mine I'll ask that they record it (you can see a little red light in the top left corner of the zoom when they are recording), and you can ask for a copy of the video after. highly recommend keeping all the records you can. we have a great legal centre up here who take on DWP rejections, so building your casefile is always wise (tho deeply depressing that we have to plan for a discrimination suit/legal protections).

also noting that the individuals at A2W don't have to have any special training, despite working with disabled/vulnerable people, so don't expect them to know anything or be sensitive to your condition/needs. and also that there are a lot of good people who work at DWP simply because they know how bad the system is and want to help us navigate it, so i always try to bear in mind that they are mostly trying to help, just hamstrung by the system. don't hate the player, hate the game :)


I had a friend in England who has done it, and got paid work but I wasn't too sure if there was something else there, too. As he has his mum fighting his corner to help get something beneficial.

Yeah...I know what you mean about digging through traumas, I had an awkward moment with Prince's Trust regarding that. Thanks for the link, it seems like it's more for people working at the moment, but if I'm lucky and get something I'll give it a go.
 

Margot

Administrator
Based on this government website, to get Access to Work you have to have a paid job or about to start one, or work for more than one hour a week while on benefits.
Eligibility
To get help from Access to Work you must:
  • have a disability or health condition (physical or mental) that makes it hard for you to do parts of your job or get to and from work
  • be 16 or over
  • live in England, Scotland or Wales - there’s a different system in Northern Ireland
You also need to have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one. A paid job could include:
  • self-employment
  • an apprenticeship
  • a work trial or work experience
  • an internship
You cannot get a grant for voluntary work.
Your job must be based in England, Scotland or Wales.
You cannot get Access to Work if you live in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.
If you get other benefits
Certain benefits may affect whether you can get an Access to Work grant.
Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support
You can still get help from Access to Work if you work more than one hour a week.
 

feesable

New member
@Margot ahh yes, thanks for that.
i'm self employed, so that qualifies me even if i'm not working properly at the moment. (took some cajoling to even get to assessment stage though... we shall see how far I get with them!)
 

Bryan

New member
I have used them twice, and both times they were brilliant for me. Seriously. Very easy to apply and the people I came into contact with were very pleasant, listened and came up with lots of ideas about potential solutions to solving workplace problems, which even included supplying equipment. If you haven't started the job, or have been there for less than 6 weeks, they take care of the funding. It simply can't hurt to give them a go!
 

Audrey2

New member
Not sure if it's been mentioned but your employer needs to provide consent for ATW to carry out a workplace assessment for you. If your employer is determined to get rid of you, as is in my case, they naturally won't give consent and therefore your application can't be progressed.
 

Bryan

New member
Not sure if it's been mentioned but your employer needs to provide consent for ATW to carry out a workplace assessment for you. If your employer is determined to get rid of you, as is in my case, they naturally won't give consent and therefore your application can't be progressed.
If they 'refuse' to allow the input of a service who's presence would help to ensure your continued employment, or access to employment in the first instance, that's quite damning for them. If employed, and they refuse to allow Access To Work and your enjoyment is later threatened, I'd take them for constructive dismissal - big time!
 

Audrey2

New member
If they 'refuse' to allow the input of a service who's service would help to ensure your continued employment, or access to employment in the first instance, that's quite damning for them. If employed, and they refuse and your enjoyment is later threatened, I'd take them for constructive dismissal
Hi Bryan, thanks for your response. I've a feeling it's going to go that way. I am keeping a note of everything they do (and don't do)
 

Bryan

New member
Ab-so-bloody-lutely you should! And try to keep correspondence by emails, in writing etc. Ask for Access To Work 'officially' and tell them why - in writing. If you're in a Union, speak to a rep. If not, speak to someone at National Autistic Society and see if they can help signpost you to someone who can offer practical assistance. One thing I do know is that once a relationship with an employer has broken down, it's a difficult task to put it back in track. And good luck!
 

Audrey2

New member
Ab-so-bloody-lutely you should! And try to keep correspondence by emails, in writing etc. Ask for Access To Work 'officially' and tell them why - in writing. If you're in a Union, speak to a rep. If not, speak to someone at National Autistic Society and see if they can help signpost you to someone who can offer practical assistance. One thing I do know is that once a relationship with an employer has broken down, it's a difficult task to put it back in track. And good luck!
They came back with the reply to my union caseworker that without input from occupational health first and knowing what my needs are, they didn't know how useful AtW would be (BS). I AM the rep at work, hence being targeted! Thank you for your advice, I'll get in contact with NAS.
 

Antqrt

New member
I applied for A2W, the process was fairly straight forward. An assessor came to my workplace and identified few adjustments. I insisted and it was agreed that my management and I get training about autism at work. My grant lasted for three years. Always paid without a hitch.

And here comes a BUT. One needs to find their own provider for the service. A2W may suggest and that is only a suggestion. My first work coach was a scam, invoiced A2T for way more hours than he spent with me and was useless overall. He operated on an assumption I had learning difficulties and would not clock him.

My second coach was good and he had done as much as he could because although he is endorsed (paid) by DWP, my employer thought as long as he talks to me, I would be fine. I.e. as if it was his job to fix me rather than them listening how to create an acceptable environment for me.

I had a third, and a fourth job coaches. All the same. Employers do not listen.

My advice is to get A2W grant and find a coach that would support you in finding the courage to dump the employer that treats you shit and find an employer that values you. All whilst your current employer signs their invoices.

My grant ran out last December. I might consider applying again, though, now I am self-employed. Need to check how much income is sufficient.