Access to Work

Disabled and in business? What to do if you become disabled and are self employed.

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Becoming disabled is a difficult time for people, as it could affect every aspect of there life. For people who are self employed, becoming disabled can have a disastrous effect on their business.

The first piece of advice I can give to you if you find yourself in this position is to fight! This is not the time to feel sorry for yourself; you may have people who rely on you. I suspect if you are in business you are used to having to fight and if you want to keep your business you will need to act fast!

If you are self employed and have recently become disabled from sight loss (registered blind or partially sighted), become deaf or have mobility issues etc… it could have a negative impact on your business.

There is support out there to keep you in business. The last thing the government wants is for you to quit your business and sign on to full time benefits. In this article I will guide you through the support available and were to find it. Support which is designed to help you remain in business can take time to implement. The quicker you can apply for it, the faster it will be put in place, which should limit the impact on your business.

The main support available to people in business who have become disabled is.

1. Benefits
2. Access to work
3. Grants

1. Benefits

If you are newly disabled and in business, you could qualify for benefits which are designed to support you with the extra cost of living caused by your disability. Benefits such as, Disability Living Allowance are not means tested and could be paid to you whilst you are trading. This extra financial support could help you until you can fully operate your business.

There could also be support if your income drops during this time. You maybe eligible for Working Tax Credits, housing benefit, counsel tax benefit, which will supplement your income.

The key to accessing these benefits are working with the people who understand your disability. You need to contact local charities who operate in your area and specialise in you disability. You can find these by looking in the phone book or using the internet. These charities usually have staff who can help you access support.

2. Access to Work

Access to Work is a Government organisation who can provide funds to pay for a support worker, equipment or adaptation to your working environment to enable you to run your business (see ATW article for more info)

3. Grants

There are 2 different types of grants you may qualify for to enable you to continue in business. The first one is hardship grants if your disability is affecting your income and you are having difficulties in paying your utility bills, rents, child costs etc…the other type is a business grant (see business grants)

The key to remaining in business is knowledge and speed. Work with as many organisations as possible and get all the support you are entitled to.

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