Access to Work delays are putting the jobs of deaf people and people with hearing loss or tinnitus at risk.
The Access to Work scheme, run by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), provides practical and financial support to people with disabilities, including many deaf people and people with hearing loss or tinnitus, to find and retain employment.
Deaf people and people with hearing loss or tinnitus face additional barriers to getting a job and staying in employment. Access to Work provides crucial support, such as specialist equipment, support workers and awareness training for colleagues.
We are aware that many claimants have been forced to wait up to 16 weeks for their initial claim to be processed or for their renewal to be approved. We also know that support workers aren’t being paid promptly, making it harder for deaf people to book the support they need at work.
We know that this creates huge barriers for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss. People are left without support, sometimes through large parts of a probation period, or are left reliant on the goodwill of their employer. This isn’t good enough.
What action are we calling for?
We’ve been challenging the DWP on these problems and are planning future work with other disability charities to highlight the issues and call for Government to take action. We believe that the DWP must:
- Provide adequate resources to Access to Work so that support is put in place within four weeks of any application and claims are promptly processed.
- Remove the need for an Access to Work renewal process for customers when their support needs are not changing.
- Automatically extend Access to Work packages until renewals can be processed so individuals can retain support.
- Provide a ‘cost of living’ update for the value of Access to Work grant payments.
- Fast track applicants who know what support they need.