Claiming Access to Work during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Here's updates from the Government on changes to Access to Work during Covid-19. Please see below:
'During the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, you can still get help from Access to Work if you have a disability or a physical or mental health condition that makes it hard for you to do your job and you need to work from home.
You cannot claim help from Access to Work if you are no longer working. If you already have an Access to Work award, you can start using it again when you start working.
DWP is prioritising making grants for new claims from critical workers and people due to start work within 4 weeks.
If your support needs change
If the support you need changes, for example because you have started to work from home, you need to tell Access to Work.
To report a change, contact the Access to Work helpline.
An Access to Work adviser will discuss working from home with you and your employer to understand what support is needed. If they cannot identify the support you need, they will put you in touch with a workplace assessor. They will work with you and your employer to recommend how to overcome the barriers you face.
If you have started to work from home, but your support needs are the same, you do not need to report this.
You need to report any changes to your circumstances during and after the coronavirus outbreak as they may affect the amount of your award.
If you need extra support but have reached or have nearly reached the maximum amount of your award, speak to your Access to Work adviser. You can continue to get a grant of up to £60,700 a year. If you have not yet spent all the award, your adviser can work with you to agree how to spend the rest of the money.
After you apply for Access to Work, an adviser will contact you to discuss what help you could get. You may need an assessment of your workplace to assess your needs.
If you know what support you need, you do not need to have an assessment. An Access to Work adviser will discuss the award with you and develop a tailored package of support.
If you need to have an assessment, it will be carried out by telephone during the coronavirus outbreak.
If you cannot use the telephone, contact the organisation that is arranging the assessment to agree another way to have the assessment. This could be through an online British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting service or an online video service.
If you need to rearrange or cancel an assessment, contact the organisation that has arranged the assessment with you.
You can continue to use your existing support worker while working from home.
If you need to cancel a support worker at short notice and are charged a fee, you may be able to claim that money.
If you use a BSL interpreter and they cannot visit your home, Access to Work could help pay for an online BSL interpreting service.
You need to tell Access to Work if you change the type of support you are using. For example, if you start using an online interpreting service instead of a BSL support worker.
If your interpreter can provide interpreting services online, they can still be paid for this. Access to Work will not be able to pay for any travel time, if they are not travelling to support you.
If your support worker cannot support you at the moment
If your support worker cannot support you because they are sick, you may still be able to claim payment for them. Your Access to Work award will need to include payment for your support worker while they are off sick.
You cannot get help from Access to Work to pay for your support worker if they are sick but payment for their sickness is not included in your Access to Work award. They may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay, Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit.
Access to Work can only pay towards travel costs needed because of your disability or health condition.
If you are no longer travelling to work, you should not claim for any travel support. You can start receiving support towards travel when you start travelling to work again.
You do not need to get evidence to support your claim for travel expenses during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Claiming for costs
You have 9 months to claim for costs. This has increased from 6 months because of coronavirus (COVID-19).
If you cannot get your employer or your support worker to sign your claim for costs, you can ask them to send you an email instead. The email should confirm that the costs you are claiming are correct. You will need to print the email and send it to Access to Work with your claim.
If you cannot leave home or ask someone else to post your claim for costs, contact your Access to Work adviser and ask if you can send your claim by email. They will tell you what you need to do. You can also send the email from your employer or your support worker by email.
If you have a question about your payments, contact the Access to Work helpline. Someone will arrange to call you back within 7 days.
If you are on a Department for Education supported internship, Access to Work can continue to help towards any work-related support you need. It cannot help with your educational support.
Access to Work will contact you 12 weeks before your support is due to end. If you would like your support to continue, you will need to apply to renew it.
If your award includes costs for a support worker and your circumstances have not changed, the award will be extended for 6 months because of coronavirus. You will still need to apply to renew your award.'
Further information can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/access-to-work-factsheet/access-to-work-factsheet-for-customers#claiming-access-to-work-during-the-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak