More people with mental health conditions than ever before have been supported at or into work by a government employment scheme, Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said today.
According to statistics released today, almost half of all people with mental health conditions using the specialist disability employment scheme Access to Work last year did so for the first time.
Access to Work provides financial help towards the extra costs faced by disabled people at work, such as support workers, travel costs and specially adapted equipment.
Minister for Disabled People Esther McVey said:
“Access to Work is unique as support goes to the individual, so that disabled people can have the same choice of jobs as everyone else – in every sector, from hairdressing to engineering and everything in between.
“Through our online marketing campaign we’re making sure people with mental health conditions know more about the employment support that’s available – because a mental health condition shouldn’t be a barrier to getting or keeping a job.
“I’m encouraged by the figures, but we know many more disabled people could benefit, so I’d urge them to see how the scheme might help them get or stay in work.”
Today’s statistics relate to claims between April and December 2012 – and show that 27,610 people were helped for the part year, up from 27,420 over the same time period the previous year. 7,750 claims came from people new to the scheme, which compares with 7,370 the previous year.
More than 30,000 people have been helped by Access to Work in England, Scotland and Wales in 2011/12.
Last year, DWP launched an online marketing campaign to raise awareness of the programme, particularly targeting young disabled people and those with mental health conditions, and improve understanding of it among disabled people both in and out of work and to employers, support groups and stakeholders.
The numbers of new and existing claims from people with mental health conditions has increased by almost 30 percent when compared with the same time period the previous year. Of those, 310 new claims came from those with mental health conditions and 440 claims came from those who had previously received support under the scheme. This compares with 270 new, and 320 existing claims compared with the same time frame the previous year.
Recent changes to the scheme also mean that:
- Businesses with up to 49 employees will no longer pay a contribution towards the extra costs faced by disabled people in work, saving them up to £2,300 per employee who uses the fund;
- Disabled jobseekers who want to set up their own business through the New Enterprise Allowance will now be eligible for Access to Work funding from day one of receiving Job Seekers Allowance; and
- Access to Work advisers will be given more flexibility in deciding which equipment is funded through the scheme, offering more choice to disabled people in work.
The Government has already announced £15m additional funding for Access to Work and the extension of the support to young people taking part in work experience through the Youth Contract.
Anyone interested in applying for this support, can search ‘Access to Work’ at www.gov.uk/access-to-work to find out details of our contact centres.
The full statistical release can be found here: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=atw