By Kate Brown
The maximum amount people with disabilities can claim to help them access employment is set to rise to £57,000. This figure is a 38% rise (£15,000) from the current cap on Access to Work funding – a scheme which was introduced in 2015. Access to Work provides funding to cover any additional costs required by disabled people when working. These include: hiring support workers; buying specialised equipment; travel expenses.
Esther McVey announced the increase in a written statement from the government and said disabled people “should have the opportunity to thrive”. According to the work and pensions secretary, the increase was part of a government initiative to have one million more disabled people in work by 2027. The UK Council on Deafness welcomed the increase and said it would help deaf people in particular to access “vital” communication support, “enabling them to thrive and succeed in the workplace”.
However, not everyone is happy with the change. Campaigners have argued that the existence of a cap and the changes to be made will still disproportionally affect people with high-level needs and those who are deaf. Whilst, campaign group Inclusion London referred to the cap as “inappropriate and discriminatory” and said: “it is still a fixed limit set in an entirely arbitrary way, whereas costs for highly specialised equipment and good quality professional interpreters, tailored to an individual’s needs, can exceed this amount or vary from year to year”. When the cap was set in 2015, it was 1.5 times higher than the average salary, but now is double that.