A Guide to Access-to-Work Funding

How to get funding for my Speaksee Microphone Kit!

Our Speaksee Microphone Kit and Speaksee AutoCaption products are recognised as important tools at work for people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

Many of our customers have already used Access-to-Work funding to purchase their Speaksee Microphone Kit. This funding can really help to get the support you need and means that money need not be an obstacle! 

What is Acces to work?

‘Access-to-Work is a publicly funded employment support programme that aims to help people with disabilities start or stay in work. It can provide practical and financial support if you have a disability or long term physical or mental health condition.’

This funding mechanism gives you what you need to do your job.

Access-to-Work is managed by the UK Department of Work and Pensions.

To get support, you must apply for an Access-to-Work Grant and provide details about yourself, your disability and your employment.

To check your eligibility, and other details on the Access-to-Work scheme, please follow the link below to the government information webpage.

Access-to-Work Government Fact Sheet

There are over 50,000 people using Access-to-Work funding every year and latest figures indicate over 6,000 people who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

There are still many people who are eligible for funding but have not applied!

How does it work?

If your application is successful, Access-to-Work will provide money to pay for products and services to support you with your disability while at work.

Employers are already required to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for people with disabilities, so in some cases, there may already be things in place to help. However, for most people with a disability, there are lots of other solutions available that could make life easier.

The Access-to-Work funding value can be very significant. Although the annual value is capped, the amount is reset every year to ensure support is available for you throughout your employment.

  1. To begin the process, you must first complete your Access-to-Work application. The form only takes about 10 minutes and can be done online or over the phone. Follow the link below to start your application!Access-to-Work Application

  2. Once your application has been processed (this can take 3 to 4 weeks), you will be assigned an Access-to-Work Assessor to help identify things you need to do your job. The Assessors have lots of experience and will be able to suggest useful solutions to help. You can also suggest things that you have found yourself!

  3. Your Assessor will then arrange a time to come and see you to carry out a work-based assessment (there is a waiting list so it can take 2 to 3 weeks).

  4. Once your support requirements have been identified, your Assessor will write to you detailing all the things you need (this will take 1 to 2 weeks). This document is the approval for your funding by Access to Work

  5. You will need to schedule some time with your line manager (or suitable decision maker within your organisation) and share the information. Before making any purchases, you must agree everything beforehand with your employer.

  6. Typically, the goods or services will need to be ordered by your employer using their standard purchasing process. (At Speaksee, we would need a purchase order or a signed quotation before we can send you a Microphone Kit!)

  7. Once the product or service has been received and invoiced, confirmation must be provided to the Access-to-Work Team, and they will arrange financial reimbursement directly to your employer.

Depending on the type of support required, and the size of your employer, Access-to-Work will either agree to fund everything or contribute to a portion of the costs. The financial contribution will be agreed in writing before any purchases are made. 

Should you find something else you need for support, you can apply for new funding at any time during your employment. You probably won’t need to see the Assessor face-to-face as they already understand your job requirements; instead, you can simply discuss additional funding requirements with an Access-to-Work Advisor.

All funding is subject to Access-to-Work approval and agreement from your employer.

What can I use it for?

For Deaf or Hard of Hearing employees, Access-to-Work funding is typically used to pay for:

  • BSL interpreters
  • Note takers
  • Palantypists or STTR (Speech-To-Text-Reporters)
  • Lip speakers
  • Assistive technology devices such as
    • enhanced telephones
    • listening devices
    • alerting devices
    • captioning / subtitling solutions like

When can I use it?

You can apply for Access-to-Work funding at any point during your employment including when applying/interviewing for jobs or even to support you in a temporary job placement.

The usual triggers to make a funding application are:

  • You are Deaf and have recently become employed
  • You are Deaf, you are in an existing job role and have recently decided you need additional support for your disability
  • You are in an existing job and have recently become deafened
  • You are Deaf and have just changed your job

If you are completely new to Access-to-Work, or if you’ve recently changed your job, you will likely need a face-to-face work placed assessment. In this case an Assessor will arrange to meet you at work and carry out a detailed assessment.

If you have previously used Access-to-Work funding and remain in an existing job role, it may be enough just to have a discussion with an Advisor over phone or email.

What do they need to know?

The initial application form can be completed online and only takes 10 minutes! They want to understand all about you and your job:

  • Name, address and contact details
  • Your disability and how it makes things harder to do your job
  • What you do to get round the problems and what you think might help
  • Your job title, your company, your manager and their contact details

During your work-based assessment, the Assessor will want to understand what you do at work, where you go, and who you work with. They will want to understand where your disability makes things difficult and what solutions could help.

Speaksee really helps during face-to-face meetings (particularly with several people). So, if your job needs you to have regular meetings, then you can probably get funding support!

Where can I get more information?

There’s lots of information online about Access-to-Work but start by reading the pages on the government website (link given earlier).

Many of our staff are Deaf or have close family that are Deaf, so we are experts in the process too! Please feel free to contact us with any questions on: hello@speak-see.com

Good luck from the Speaksee Team!

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