The changes were put forward by a panel, chaired by Mike Adams, which made eleven recommendations. The Department for Work and Pensions have agreed to adopt nine of those recommendations. They include allowing some claimants access to up-front payments (usually the cost is paid and then claimed back subsequently) if this will allow claimants to take up a new job or remain in an existing one. Also, it will be easier to make flexible arrangements if, for example, the claimant works different hours in different weeks, without having to be approved for each change.
The government also agreed that disabled people on traineeships, supported internships and work academies will now all be eligible for support through Access to Work, with £2 million a year being put aside for such schemes.
If there is a realistic job at the end of it, claimants can claim for work placements that they have arranged themselves (as opposed to through the Jobcentre Plus which are already covered). Making Access to Work available for all traineeships and work placements will help many young disabled people into the workplace.
There are still some concerns about accessing Access to Work, in that it still can’t be applied for online, making it difficult for some groups of people to apply (for example, some people with sight impairments).
However, this is definitely a move in the right direction, and hopefully this will continue to grow and improve over time.
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