Access to Work updates for disabled workers should have come sooner

Access to Work: Support for disabled home workers welcome, but should have been communicated sooner, says Business Disability Forum.

The Government’s updated guidance to Access to Work, to include support for disabled employees working at home due to COVID-19, should have been communicated much earlier in the pandemic, says the Business Disability Forum (BDF).

The updates include covering the cost of support for people to carry out their roles from home and measures to prioritise new claimants – particularly key workers and those beginning new roles. Remote assessments have also been introduced; as well as a six-month extension of all existing grants where there are no changes in an individual’s circumstances.

While the British Disability Forum welcomes the announcement, the non-profit business and disability organisation has questioned why this information has been communicated so late into lockdown.

Diane Lightfoot, CEO at Business Disability Forum, said: “We are pleased to see the Government has recognised the need for increased flexibility around Access to Work at this current time. Access to Work is a lifeline for many disabled people, covering the costs of the specialist support and tech they may need to carry out their roles – adjustments which are available in people’s usual place of work, but not necessarily available in their homes.

“But given the importance of Access to Work, we are surprised that it has taken the Government so long to officially communicate the changes and are concerned by the unnecessary anxiety and uncertainty that this may have caused some claimants.

“We know that managing the health and well-being of all staff, but particularly colleagues with disabilities and long-term conditions, is a matter of particular concern for our members, at present.

“We also know that communication around Access to Work has long been an issue, and one which has affected past take up. Therefore, we call on the Government to make communication a priority and to ensure that the updated guidance is communicated as widely as possible and in a range of accessible formats.”

Business Disability Forum is a non-profit organisation working with over 300 businesses and organisations, offering informed advice on issues affecting disabled people in the workplace and as consumers. The latest guidance on COVID-19 and Access to Work can be found on the website.
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