Applying for Access to Work – Part 2

Part 1 of this blog, is where I talk about my motivation for applying to Access to Work and what the application form entailed. In this second part, I cover the queries that came up and what it’s actually like having someone working for you.

As mentioned in the first part of this blog, the overall application process took around four months. This was certainly stressful, but also difficult because I’d recruited a support worker to work for me, and I wasn’t able to tell them when they’d be able to start. I was worried that they’d lose patience and look for another job.

Communication with Access to Work was hard, as they always wanted to phone me, even though I’d stipulated that as a reasonable adjustment, I preferred email.

This meant that I nearly had my application cancelled, because I kept missing their calls.

I personally hate phone calls and therefore never pick up any calls. To make matters worse, they would appear to not know their own rules very well, for instance I was told that “Access to work can provide support for customers for 20% of their hours per week”, yet this rule applies to job aides and not support workers. This was exceptionally stressful, as someone who doesn’t know their rules well, I didn’t understand that they had mixed up the type of support that I was requesting. Luckily, Disability Arts Online (DAO), the charity supporting me with my application, knew this straight away and were able to draft a response for me to send to them. I can’t say it was the most supportive process to go through.

It makes me appreciate why people don’t apply to the grant. Or why many people perhaps get refused it, or are told they aren’t eligible for what they are entitled to – but they don’t know it.

I did receive the funding in the end, and for that I am so very grateful. A tip I have is to ask for the hours to be used flexibly across the year. This is helpful as you can use more hours in one month compared with another, so long as y