Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) support into work

If you have a disability Access to Work can help you overcome barriers to starting or keeping a job.

Access to Work can also give advice to employers, to help them understand your disability and how they can support you.

How can Access to Work help?

Access to Work can help pay for the support you need because of your disability, for example:

  • Aids and equipment in your workplace
  • Adapting equipment to make it easier for you to use
  • Money towards any extra travel costs to and from work if you can’t use available public transport, or if you need help to adapt your vehicle
  • An interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
  • Other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a sign-language interpreter

If you have a mental health condition you will be offered help to develop a support plan, which may include:

  • Steps to support you going into, remaining in or returning to work
  • Ideas for reasonable adjustments in a workplace for example:
  • Flexible working hours
  • A mentor who can give you additional support at work
  • Additional time to complete certain tasks
  • Additional training
  • Regular meetings between you and your manager to talk about your concerns
  • A phased return to work, such as reduced hours or less days.

Access to Work partners will also work with your employer to advise them how best they can support you in the workplace.

Can I get this help?

You can apply for Access to Work if you have:

  • A disability or long term health condition that makes it hard for you to work
  • A mental health condition and need support in work

You must also be aged 16 and over and:

  • Have a job
  • Are about to start a job
  • Have been offered a job interview or
  • Are about to begin a work trial or self-arranged work experience

And need:

  • Support when starting work
  • Support to reduce absence from work
  • Support to stay in work

How do I apply?

Specialist Employability Support (SES) is a Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) programme which helps disabled people who need the most support to get into work or move closer to getting a job and engage in further work related courses or activities.

There are two routes within the programme:


  • For people who require long term support to get a job
  • A minimum of one monthly face-to-face meeting
  • Up to 12 months

SES Start Back

  • For people who are either job ready or who need a stepping stone into further provision before employment
  • A minimum of one fortnightly face-to-face meeting
  • Intensive support over 3 months

On the programme you would receive:

  • Someone to support you on a one-to-one basis and a plan to support you going forward
  • Someone to support you who has expertise in health and disability issues
  • Support tailored to your needs
  • Help with issues that may be holding you back
  • Online help and databases to help with job searching
  • One-to-one help with CV writing, job searching, interview techniques, health and safety, customer services, budgeting and finance, sales and marketing and leadership

Once you get a job you would receive:

  • Continued support during your first 6 months in work
  • Any equipment you may need at work
  • Support to understand and successfully complete the company induction programme

If you do not find a job:

You will be supported with a focussed plan of action to maintain the progress you are making and where possible support you to get extra help to keep up the momentum.

How to get on the programme?

Talk to your local Jobcentre Plus about being referred onto the programme.

Once a referral has been received you will be invited to a Start-up meeting.

At the Start-up meeting you will be invited to talk about your health and disability status and identify skills gaps, geographical barriers and what support you might need to get a job. You will also have the chance to talk about other barriers that you face to getting a job such as housing, debt, or addiction and areas of personal development and any support needs.

This information will help the adviser to decide if SES or SES Start Back is suitable for you.

Work Choice is a voluntary work programme for disabled people who have high support needs and complex barriers to getting and keeping a job, which cannot be overcome by workplace adjustments or Access to Work support.

The programme is probably for you if you cannot be helped through other DWP programmes.

On the programme you will be given:

Support to get a job

  • Support to identify your needs and prepare you for work
  • Job search advice
  • Job application support
  • Person-centred, individual vocational guidance
  • A development plan setting out the training and support you need to find and keep a job

Support to keep your job

  • An introduction to your employer and the people you will be working with
  • Ongoing contact with your Work Choice provider to review your development plan with you and your employer and how much support you need
  • Over time, as you settle into your job and learn how to do the tasks, the support you need will slowly reduce
  • Your job will need to be for at least 16 hours per week.

How do I get on the programme?

Contact your local Jobcentre and ask to be put in touch with a Disability Employment Adviser (DEA).

The DEA will tell you whether you are eligible for the programme and help you to decide if it is right for you, before making the referral.