Masses of people with health conditions and disabilities want to get back to work but help hasn’t always been right for them in the past. The Government has been consulting on improvements and there are already signs of changes underway:
Increasing understanding of disability in Jobcentres.
- By august, local community organisations will be working with Jobcentres: giving expert knowledge, advice and support on disability issues to the Jobcentre staff and improving their understanding of the challenges disabled people face in getting and keeping jobs.
- There will also be more specialist Disability Employment Advisers amongst Jobcentre staff to increase their colleagues’ disability understanding and help them better assist their clients.
- More people with health limitations for work can volunteer for Work Choice support (provided by various contractors). Places have now been opened up for people who don’t have to be eligible for the Work-Related Activity Group (WRAG) element of employment and support Allowance (ESA) or the limited capability element of Universal Credit (UC).
- 1,000 more people with mental health conditions can get up to 6 months help from the Mental Health Service to start and keep new jobs (for those on ESA WRAG and UC due to limited capability for work).
- New Work and health Programme starts in November this year and will help those with health conditions and disabilities, alongside long-term unemployed people. This replaces the Work Programme which has just stopped taking on new people but anyone already on that programme will still get up to two years of their existing help.
Increasing job opportunities.
In every Jobcentre area, there will be three specialist advisers targeting small local businesses with the “Small Employer Offer” – explaining what support is available when they employ someone with a long-term health condition or disability. By building strong relationships with those employers, they’ll be able to give real practical help: ensuring that people applying for jobs or work experience with the employer are a good fit and helping with claims for Access to Work (ATW).
Access to Work.
This financial help supports eligible people with long-term health conditions or disabilities to take up a job offer and keep existing jobs.
Penny Melville-Brown OBE
Disability Dynamics ltd www.disabilitydynamics.co.uk
Helping disabled people to work since 2000