UCL Human Resources


Access to Work

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work is a programme run by the Department of Work and Pensions that provides support to disabled people to help them overcome work-related obstacles arising from their disability, if this is likely to last for 12 months or longer.

Access to Work has recently provided the following statement:

"It is the legal responsibility of employers under the Equality Act to make reasonable adjustments to allow disabled staff to do their work. The Access to Work programme is intended to provide funding towards equipment and support that would be above and beyond what is reasonable for an employer to supply.

What support is regarded as "standard and reasonable" is under constant review and guidance to our staff is regularly updated to reflect ever changing work practices, I.T. advancements and accepted industry standards.

As part of the latest update examples of the types of equipment that should be considered as standard have been included in the Access to Work guidance to assist advisers in making operational decisions. The list of examples provided is not exhaustive and advisers have the discretion to identify other types of equipment as standard for a particular industry or occupation".

Under the Equality Act 2010 universities will need to continue to consider reasonable adjustments for staff, students and service users, in relation to:

  • Provision, criteria or practice
  • Physical features
  • Auxiliary aids

Access to Work applies to any paid job, part-time or full-time, permanent or temporary.

Applications for Access to Work can only be made by the disabled employee.

Access to Work Grants/Costs

The amount of help which staff may receive from Access to Work will depend on how long they have been employed and what support they need. Access to Work can pay up to 100% of the approved costs if the member of staff is working for an employer and has been in the job for less than six weeks. Access to Work pays a proportion of the costs of support if all of the following apply to the member of staff:

  • they are working for an employer
  • they've been in the job for six weeks or more
  • they need special equipment or adaptations to premises

The precise level of cost sharing is determined as follows:

  • large employers with 250 or more employees will pay the first £1,000 and 20% of costs up to £10,000

Useful Links

Please see the flow-chart that summarises the process is available. 

Microsoft Office document iconAccess to Work Flowchart.doc

Please see the document for a list of what is and isn't covered by Access to Work.

Microsoft Office document iconWhat is Covered.doc

Contact Details

When you contact Access to Work you may need:

  • your National Insurance number
  • your workplace address, including your postcode
  • the name, email address and work phone number of a workplace contact, eg your manager
  • your unique tax reference number (if you’re self-employed)
  • the name of your New Enterprise Allowance mentor (if you have one)

Access to Work
Telephone: 0345 268 8489 
Textphone: 0345 608 8753 
Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm 

If you would like further UCL support or information on applying to Access to Work please contact the Head of Equalities & Diversity: s.guise@ucl.ac.uk or 02031088889.


The Disability Discrimination Act defines disability as "a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities". Long term means likely to last for at least 12 months.