Access to Work: Disability scheme 'not reaching people'

Substantial numbers of disabled people are missing out on government support to help them into work, MPs have said. The government's Access to Work programme suffers from a lack of funding and publicity, the Work and Pensions Select Committee report found. Staff from the Department for Work and Pensions often failed to understand the needs of disabled people, MPs added. The scheme helped 35,000 people get or keep a job this year - up by 5,000 on two years ago, a DWP spokesman said. Access to Work assists disabled workers by paying for specialist aids, equipment, building adaptations and support workers. ‬ ‪"This week we announced further improvements to the service and we have also committed an additional £15m to ensure even more people can benefit," the  The parliamentary committee found that where Access to Work worked well, it "transformed the lives of disabled people", many of whom would be unable to work without it. But MPs said DWP staff had displayed "unacceptable lack of disability awareness" and called for staff to be given additional training. In one case, the committee found a clampdown on pay for support workers had threatened the employability of deaf British Sign Language (BSL) users. A "30-hour rule" - which capped the hourly rate for support workers - had a "profoundly detrimental" impact on many people, it said. There was also a "misperception" the scheme only provided physical aids, equipment and transport for people with physical disabilities, the report stated. "Consequently relatively few people with other types of disability and different support needs currently use the programme." Read the full story.
Share page
Print page
Follow us