Access to Work

Paying a support worker through Access to Work

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Access to Work is a Government organisation who can provide you with equipment, adaptations to the working environment or a support worker to enable the Service User to run their business (provided that it is for disability needs).

Applications can be made either for a new business or an existing one, with no cost to your self

To help ATW make a decision on your support needs, it can be useful to write a “job description” of the tasks you will need the support worker to carry out. This could be;

• If you are hearing impaired, you may need a note taker
• Guiding through unfamiliar places if you are visually impaired
• Driving you to clients if you have mobility problems

ATW may the carry out an assessment to calculate an hourly rate and the number of hours you need.

It is then your responsibility to locate a suitable support worker and to complete monthly time sheets to claim back the hourly rate.

A decision then needs to be made in relation to whether the support worker will be paid on an employee basis (PAYE) or on a self-employed basis (the support worker being responsible for paying their own National Insurance and Income Tax).

The HM Revenue & Customs offer guidance on who can be paid on a self-employment basis;-

If you decide upon or are legally obliged to employ a support worker through PAYE you may need the support of a bookkeeper or accountant to complete PAYE. It is possible that the cost could be reimbursed by ATW.

If you have the necessary skills you could do your own PAYE online or do a course on it through

Business Link, Local Enterprise Agencies, Local Council or Enterprise Centres HM Revenue & Customs.

Remember that employing a Support Worker on a PAYE basis will require an employment contract. You can get one of these for free from Business Links website.


You are awarded a support worker for 20 hours at £8 per hour. The support worker starts work and in the first month works 70 hours, this will be recorded on a time sheet and submitted to ATW. You will then pay the support worker and ATW will then reimburse the money into your account.

Depending on how busy ATW are will depend on when they reenburse the money into your account. This could lead to a delay, which could put a financial strain on the business. To keep thing simple it also might be worth having a separate account for these payments, for tax purposes, as they are regarded as a grant.

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