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DWP admits Access to Work is overwhelmed by workload but rejects meeting

25 August 2022

The Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) has admitted that Access to Work is struggling to cope with rising applications for support but it has rejected requests to meet with leaders of Disabled people’s organisations (DPOs) to discuss the problem.

Increasing numbers of Disabled people have contacted DR UK and other DPOs about long delays in securing Access to Work support. This is a huge issue for Disabled people starting new jobs or seeking renewals.

After DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi raised these concerns in a regular meeting with the Cabinet Office’s disability unit, the DWP said it was recruiting and training additional staff and that employees were working overtime to clear the backlog. Renewal applications and decisions on those due to take up work are now treated as a priority, the department said.

However, DWP does not have a public briefing to share and does not “have further information to communicate in a meeting”.

Fazilet Hadi said: “ It is not acceptable that Disabled people are not having claims dealt with quickly and efficiently. Access to Work support is vital for many of us and we literally can’t do the job without it.  Government says that they view work as a route to increasing income and independence, yet this flagship scheme is letting Disabled workers down.

“These delays cause immense anxiety and stress for Disabled people and risk alienating employers. We need the leadership of Access to Work to be more transparent about what is going on and to discuss solutions with Disabled People’s Organisations.”