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How are people finding the Access to Work scheme?

traceyrhodestraceyrhodes Posts: 2Member Listener
edited October 2018 in Employment
How easy are people finding it to utilise the Access to Work scheme? Specifically those who require support workers or a job coach?

Replies

  • Pippa_ScopePippa_Scope Posts: 5,856Member Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @traceyrhodes, and a warm welcome to the community! Hopefully some of our members will be able to share their experiences with you.
  • siobhan1siobhan1 Posts: 77Member Pioneering
    My only experiences of Access to Work was while working within DWP. Unfortunately for department employees, AtW is not available as everything to make the workplace accessible should be done as a reasonable adjustment, so they can be seen as the most inclusive employer and an example to others. The principle is still the same and it's dealt with by the same people. Unfortunately, as my union rep mentioned in my last sickness disciplinary before I left, the provision for employees is actually worse. If i had been working for another employer I could have used a buddy to help me transfer from wheelchair to bathroom etc, but they simply would not do it through CSWAT (civil service workplace adjustment team) as they stated it was up to social services to help with it affecting me at home as well, and they would seek dismissal as I would be entitled to support that was covered by other areas such as ESA. Basically they were saying they were not going to fork out for a paid employee to help me when it was cheaper to give me benefits. I could not carry out my duties without the buddy and have it in writing that they refused as my union rep insisted. I've had to go on ESA and hoping I get a decision in the next couple months as if I'm found ftw I'll be taking them to an employment tribunal as it's still within time. I did use access to work for taxis at one point and it was great although I had to fork out the money upfront myself and get multiple quotes. Unfortunately most taxi companies in my area had no wheelchair taxis available at the times I needed as they get more money doing council school runs and wouldn't take the time to provide a written quote. I did get quotes in the end but they were for taxi companies I had no intention of using which was a bit obvious as the prices were ludicrous. My taxis to work cost about £600 per week and they add VAT onto contracted work which is a lot to find upfront if your expenses/AtW takes a while to be reimbursed. I had to pay £1200 out before I got anything back and if there were any problems with receipts I didn't get paid it at all, e.g. if they had the wrong time. They did offer to hire a car for me as it would be cheaper but numbness/medication prevents me from driving. I also contacted AtW for general advice in a supported transfer (pretended it was a general enquiry, didn't disclose employer) but they said it was up to me to negotiate with my employer . I found the whole process horrible to manage and if I'm honest I don't think AtW are doing everything they can to help disadvantaged people into and to maintain work at all. 
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