This is Me Agency was set up to ensure that any person with a disability, chronic illness or mental health condition would be able to support themselves through employment; whether that be as an employee of a business or self-employed.
We do this by utilising the government’s Access to Work scheme which has helped thousands of people gain employment every year.
The process however, can be quite confusing and stressful so we’ve tried to simplify it for you with these FAQ’s.
What is Access to Work?
Access to Work was created by the DWP in 1994 to help disabled people either start a new job, stay in work or move into self-employment.
It provides financial support and practical help if you have a disability or long-term health condition.
What help can it give me?
It depends on what help you need and what kind of work you do. If you’re self-employed it can provide funding for a support worker to help you run your business.
If you’re employed or looking to start work it can supply you with a communicator for job interviews, practical help such as a note-taker at work and possibly money for transport to and from work.
You may also be able to get equipment to assist you.
How do I know if I’m eligible?
In order to be eligible to receive help from Access to Work there are a few conditions you have to meet. You can apply if you:
Have a disability or health condition (whether that’s physical or mental) that makes it hard for you to do parts of your job or get to and from work.
Have a mental health condition and need some extra support at work.
Are aged 16 or over.
Live in England, Scotland or Wales.
You must also have a paid job or be about to start or return to one. This could include:
A work trial or work experience
You might also be eligible if you are currently receiving New Enterprise Allowance. https://www.gov.uk/moving-from-benefits-to-work/starting-your-own-business
What if I’m already getting other benefits?
If you’re receiving Universal Credit and have a health condition or disability you will be able to apply for Access to Work.
If you’re receiving any other benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance or National Insurance Credits it will depend on your circumstances and whether or not you’re doing any ‘permitted work’.
It’s only classed as permitted work if all of the following apply:
You earn up to £131.50 per week.
You work less than 16 hours a week.
It has been agreed with your work coach and approved.
I’m struggling with my mental health. Can I get any help for that as well?
Yes absolutely! You don’t even have to be receiving help from Access to Work although you do need to be eligible for it. You can ask for confidential support and advice from a trained healthcare professional from the Mental Health Support Service or you can contact one of you service providers directly.
I’m self-employed. Exactly what does that mean for me?
To be considered as self-employed you must be either:
Operating a business on your own or with a partner.
Working for an employer on a self-employed basis
Operating a franchised business on a self-employed basis
Have a Unique Tax Reference (UTR) number.
The amount of funding available will be dependent on the help you require and the number of hours you work. Access to Work can’t give you money to help set up your business but can pay for the cost of a support worker to help you once you’re established.
If you are currently receiving Employment and Support Allowance you would be able to apply for New Enterprise Allowance which can assist people through funding and training who wish to become self-employed.
How Will This is Me help me with Access to Work?
We help you by doing all of the hard work for you.
We fill in the forms, we make the phone calls and we help find you the right support worker.
We also deal with any issues that might come up so all you have to do is worry about running your business or going to work!
I’m not really sure if I’m eligible. Can you still help me?
We certainly can. Michelle is always available to have a chat and can talk you through the process.
Together, we’ll be able to work out in what ways we can best help you.
We hope this has answered your burning questions and if you think Access to Work might be something you’d like to know more about, please do get in touch.