Grants To Help People With Disabilities Into Work Will Increase- Is It Enough?

Elizabeth Elden
21st March 2018, 8:00 AM
  • Extra £15,000 to be spent on schemes
  • Limit will now be £57,200
  • Campaigners say it isn’t enough
Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, has announced an increase to the grant. Image: Getty

Hundreds of people with disabilities will benefit from a £15,000 boost to funding provided through a flagship scheme to help people into work.

Esther McVey, the Work and Pensions Secretary, announced that the limit on funding through the Access to Work scheme will rise by 36% to £57,200 in total per claimant.

The scheme is different to Universal Credit or PIP payments, which gives out payments separately.

The UK Council on Deafness praised the “significant rise” in the cap, but other campaigners are continuing to argue against the limit, which is now subject to a legal challenge.

Ms McVey said, “We believe that people with disabilities should have every opportunity to thrive in the workplace, and the tailored support of Access to Work caters to every individual’s unique needs.

“By extending this grant, we’re ensuring that many more people with disabilities can reach their career potential, which is a key part of a commitment to getting one million more people with disabilities in work by 2027.”

Access to Work provides cash payments to help people find and keep jobs, paying for key things such as transport, workplace adaptation, and support workers.

The cap was introduced in October 2015, and will apply to existing claimants from April.

Is a cap a good idea?

A legal challenge has been launched against the chap, which at the moment only applies to new claimants.

Ellen Clifford, campaigns and policy manager at Inclusion London, said, “While we welcome the news that the Access to Work cap is to be increased, we remain opposed to the imposition of any form of cap.

“Capping the amount of support that an individual can receive through Access to Work discriminates against those with the highest support needs, effectively penalising those with certain impairments.

“Though the cap is now higher, it is still set at an arbitrary, fixed limit, whereas costs for highly specialised equipment and good quality professional interpreters tailored to an individual’s needs can exceed this amount or vary from year to year.”

In a statement, the UK Council on Deafness said, “We are pleased to see that the Department for Work and Pensions has decided to significantly raise the Access to Work cap.

“This will help deaf people whose first language is British Sign Language to access the communication support so vital to enabling them to thrive and succeed in the workplace.”

A 2004 review suggested that for every £1 of money spent on Access to Work, £1.48 was generated for the Treasury.

The cap will take effect from next month.

Do you think the cap is high enough? Let us know in the comments.

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