Demanding more from the Access to Work scheme

Nigel Glastonbury on a building site.

We’ve launched our new report Working It Out: Demanding More from the Access to Work scheme, which reveals that thousands of people with arthritis are missing out on vital support from the Government’s Access to Work scheme.

The report has found serious issues around communicating the scheme, a lack of appropriate equipment to support people, problems arranging travel to and from work and an inadequate review process.

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work is a government-funding scheme that can be used to pay for practical help, such as specialist equipment, transport to and from work and to support workers.

A survey of 1,582 people with arthritis and related conditions from across the UK illustrates failings with access to work as well as within the scheme itself.

Less than 10% of people with arthritis we spoke to had used the Access to Work Scheme, despite arthritis and related conditions being the biggest cause of workplace disability in the UK.

John, who has arthritis and is blind, said: “I haven’t seen much in terms of change since I first used Access to Work in 2006. Since the Department for Work and Pensions became centralised, you’re a number, not a person who a case officer can relate to. It’s okay for Access to Work to contact you, but as soon as you try to contact them, the barrier goes up. There’s also a huge challenge for people who like me have arthritis in their hands.”

We want more for people with arthritis

We’re campaigning to help thousands of people like John get the support they need to remain in work. We’re calling on the Government to urgently address the failings in the current system and ensure people with arthritis can stay in the jobs they value. Add your name to our open letter now.

Read the full report, Working it Out: Demanding More from the Access to Work scheme here. www.versusarthritis.org.uk/workingitout