To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps her Department is taking to promote the Access to Work scheme to clinically extremely vulnerable people who are shielding with (a) arthritis and (b) other conditions.
9 July 2020
Disabled people in the clinically extremely vulnerable group who are currently in work can apply to Access to Work for support to overcome barriers they face in the workplace and while working from home, including those resulting from Covid-19.
As part of the Access to Work home working support offer, we have introduced various easements to further support those who are shielding and in the clinically extremely vulnerable group, allowing flexibilities while working from home. We are transporting assistive technology from the workplace to the home environment to support home working and, where this is not possible, Access to Work will work with the disabled person and their employer to consider new adjustments to support adaptations to standard equipment. We have also extended timeframes for receiving claims for payments, and started accepting email claim forms and employer/support signatures via email so customers can shield. Access to Work assessments are being carried out through virtual means to further protect customers.
To promote the scheme and support offered, we have updated GOV.UK to make clear the latest guidance on the Access to Work programme, including advising of the help available to people during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This has been promoted through Touchbase, DWP’s stakeholder newsletter which goes to around 8000 stakeholders. The department has also produced several animated explainer videos and social media posts on Access to Work which have been posted across a range of social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter.
We continue to promote the latest Access to Work guidance through communications to employers, with stakeholders, jobcentres and providers, as well as through content promoted via our existing benefits and labour market campaigns which make use of both paid and no-cost social media channels.