Posts Tagged ‘Access to Work’

Access to Work – What can a disabled entrepreneur apply for?

Blind business person using CCTVAccess to Work is a Government organisation that can provide equipment or support to enable a disabled person to run their business, so long as it is for disability needs.

For example, it would be essential for a visually impaired plumber to transport himself and his equipment to a client. It would be almost impossible for the plumber to take all of his equipment, materials and the client’s new boiler on a bus or put it in the back of a taxi. Therefore Access to Work would consider funding a driver to take the plumber to the client.

Likewise Access to Work would not fund the support worker to help lift the boiler out of the van, as a plumber would need an employee to do that anyway. An employee for this job would be considered a business need and not a disability need.

As a disabled entrepreneur you may be eligible for assistive technology to enable you to carry out your daily work duties. There is a vast array of equipment out there, from electronic magnifiers to help the visually impaired to sophisticated hearing loop systems for the hearing impaired.

For example, due to the plumber’s eyesight he might have problems reading the instructions to fit the new boiler. Access to Work might then consider funding a hand held electronic magnifier so he can read the instructions.

Access to Work is unlikely to fund a computer, as the majority of businesses would need a computer anyway. A computer would be considered a business need and not a disability need.

To apply to Access to Work contact your local job centre.

Access to Work. How it should work for a business person with a disability

Access to Work disabled person workingAccess to Work is a government funded body whose remit is to support disabled people retain or access employment. If you are registered as self employed with the Inland Revenue or own a limited company. You can apply to them for assistance. How can they help? They can help fund the following.

• Adaptive and supportive technology
• Environment adaptations
• Employer training and awareness
• Employee training
• Mentoring
• Travelling to and for work
• Readers and support workers

For small business owners the prospect of approaching and dealing with a government department can be daunting, slow and lengthy process.

Here are a few simple guidelines that may help.

• Always remember that any assistance asked for must be based on your disability needs not on your business needs.
• Research the supportive technology that suits your needs before applying, so as you can give a clear picture of the help you need.
• If you are a business start up prepare a business plan, if your are already in business you may need to supply accounts or proof of earnings
• If you are applying for help with travel or a support worker as a self employed person or business start up, your needs may vary over the course of a year, so prepare a snapshot of the assistance you need based on your busiest month

If you do seek professional advice from specialists, such as business advisors in helping you apply to Access to Work. Make sure they have experience in this field and that the advice they give is based on your best interests not on any government or local government contracts they maybe tied to. It’s always a good idea to ask, if they are members of a professional body and have a code of practice.

Does a disabled person need specialist support to start a business?

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