Access to Work

Access to Work (AtW) can help individuals if their health or disability affects the way they do their job. They can give you and your manager advice and support with the extra costs of reasonable adjustment which would be over and above those that the University (as your employer) would provide.


  • It is the employees responsiblity to contact AtW. The University is not allowed to do this on your behalf.
  • AtW may provide 6 different types of support - Communication Support at Interview (CSI), Travel to Work, Support Worker (SW), Adaptions to Premises and Equipment, Special Aids and Equipment, Miscellaneous (including extra in work travel costs).
  • To qualify for AtW support your must be over 16, an employee, self employed or about to start work. Support for an interview also counts.
  • AtW only cover 100% of the cost if you contact them less than 6 weeks after you started working at the University. After that a cost sharing formula is used.

Full details about access to work can be found below.

Contact Access to Work | AtW Categories | AtW Grant | Application Process | Qualifying Criertia

Contact Access to Work

If you feel that the type of work you do is affected by a disability or health condition that is likely to last for 12 months or more, then you can contact Access to Work to check if you are eligible for support on:

Telephone 0345 268 8489
Textphone 0345 608 8753
Address Operational Support Unit 
Harrow Jobcentre Plus 
Mail Handling Site A 
WV98 1JE

Remember, only you (the employee) can contact Access to Work. The University can not do this for you. 

Access to Work Categories

Access to Work might pay towards the equipment needed at work, adapting premises or a support worker. Specifically there are 6 elements that AtW might provide support on: 

AtW CategoriesSummary
Communication Support at Interview (CSI) CSI helps with the cost of employing an interpreter or communicator for a job interview when a person would find it difficult to understand or to make themselves understood. This is generally used by hearing-impaired people but is available to anyone who has a disability which affects their ability to communicate.
Travel to work Travel to Work can provide short or long term financial assistance to disable people who incur extra costs in travelling to and from work because of their disability. It is used to reimburse an agreed portion of the costs of taxis or adaptions to vehicles.
Support Workder (SW) AtW offers financial help to cover the full cost of providing a Support Worker (SW) in the workplace. SW examples include British Sign Language (BSL) Interpreter, Carer, Counsellor, Job Coach and Note Taker.
Adaptations to premises and equipment Help is available to pay the additional costs to modify an employer’s premises or equipment to allow a disabled person to work and stay in work. Examples include ramps for wheelchairs, lifts and upgrades of computers and other equipment.
Special Aids and Equipment Help is available for disabled people to buy specialised aids and equipment, but only for employment purposes. A special aid is any item that a disabled person needs to do a job which a person without a disability would not need to do the same job
Miscellaneous (including extra in work travel costs) The Miscellaneous support classification is only to be used for short term or one off support and which does not come under any other elements or extra in work travel costs.

Access to Work Grant

The level of grant Access to Work will award depends on:

  • whether you are employed by the University or are self-employed
  • how long you have been in your job for, and
  • the type of help you require.

Access to Work will consider paying grants of up to 100% for:

  • self-employed people, or
  • people who have been working for less than six weeks when they first apply for Access to Work.

Access to Work will also consider paying up to 100% of costs for:

  • the Mental Health Support Service
  • support workers
  • additional travel to work and travel in work costs, or
  • communication support at interviews.

If you have been working for the University for more than six weeks when you apply for Access to Work, the University may have to share the cost (Cost Sharing) for:

  • special aids and equipment, and
  • adaptations to premises or equipment.

When cost sharing applies, the University will be required to contribute

  • 100% of costs up to £1000
  • 20% of the costs between £1000 and £10,000.

Application Process

To make an application for help from Access to Work you needs to contact Access to Work using the contact details above.

An application will be taken over the telephone and sent to your home address for you to check and sign. If you are unable to converse on the telephone a blank application can be emailed or posted to you to complete and post back.

When the signed application is returned to Access to Work, an adviser will usually speak to you and your manager to reach a decision about the most effective support. In most cases, this can be done over the telephone, but a visit can be arranged if necessary.

Sometimes specialist advice may be needed, which the Access to Work adviser will help to arrange. For example, the adviser may arrange for a specialist organisation to complete an assessment and recommend appropriate support.

In this case, a confidential written report will be sent to the Access to Work adviser, who will use this information to help them decide on the right level of support to offer you.

Your Access to Work report will/may also be useful in arranging other adjustments in future. 

Qualifying for Access to Work

To receive support though Access to Work (AtW) you must:

  • be disabled or have a health condition that impacts on your ability to work
  • be 16 or over
  • be in need of help at a job interview with an employer
  • be about to start employment
  • be about to start a Work Trial arranged by Jobcentre Plus
  • be about to start a Department for Education supported internship or BIS traineeship
  • be a about to start self-arranged work experience or young person’s work experience
  • be in employment  (full or part-time paid work, permanent, casual or temporary)
  • be self employed

Voluntary work is not eligible. Exemptions do apply based on receipt of specific benefit entitlements such as Incapacity Benefit. Contact Access to Work for further clarification.