Access to work wait times leading to lost jobs

Wed,11 January 2023
News Employment

The Mirror reports that Access to Work wait times have "skyrocketed", after Labour's welfare chief uncovered new figures on the Department for Work and Pensions policy. 

An employment advisor at Scope shared how these wait times are causing Disabled employees to lose their jobs, or prevent them from getting a start date until their equipment arrives. The advisor said: "The delays have caused my customers to lose their jobs, as they have waited almost until their six months’ probation is up to get equipment. By then, they have either been sacked or quit as they’re too stressed to keep up with the workload without the support.”

Over 38,000 people were paid Access to Work grants last year. However, the average "clearance" time for applications almost doubled from 32.5 days in November 2021 to 63.1 days in October 2022. By November 25,289 people were waiting for a decision on their claim. This is an increase of nearly 17,000. 

The longest wait time for a claimant was 254 working days - nearly a year. 

Bethany Bale, DR UK Policy and Campaigns Officer, said "The wait times for Access to Work have been unacceptable for a long time now, but these new figures show how the delays are getting out of hand. Not only do these delays introduce more barriers to accessing employment as a Disabled person, but they also cause so much unnecessary distress. The Department for Work and Pensions must invest in the staff and resources needed to catch up with this backlog before more people lose their jobs and become discouraged from entering employment."