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Universal Credit is a living support payment, however, ultimately the goal of the DWP is to assist people into work. In that regard, one offering from the government department is likely to provide important support. The Access to Work scheme is designed to offer financial support to individuals who have a disability, physical or mental health condition stay in employment.
It is now supporting a record 43,000 people with payments to do their job.
People with a mental health condition are now the largest group supported by the Access to Work Scheme.
Some 8,710 people were approved in 2019/20, almost double the number of those supported the previous year.
Under the scheme, Britons can gain access to the Mental Health Support Service, which offers a tailored package of help and advice.
This can last for up to nine months, providing step-by-step support with experienced health practitioners.
The scheme also provides advice on how adjustments can be made to support those who need assistance with mental health.
To suit the needs brought about by the pandemic, the Access to Work scheme has also been extended to help those working from home.
The move was taken in August, and grant funding can cover tasks people were not necessarily undertaking previously, such as remote interpreting or support worker services.
Grants are worth up to £60,000 a year, a potentially revolutionary amount which can provide a significant level of support.
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Undoubtedly, the effects of the pandemic have been widely felt by millions of people.
The ongoing crisis is likely to prove a strain on the mental health of many people, and as much support as possible is necessary to help during this challenging time.
But the Access to Work scheme has helped over 43,000 people during the 2019/20 year, a 20 percent increase on the year before.
It is hoped as many people as possible can be provided with assistance through the grant.
And coinciding with World Mental Health Day today, Britons have been urged to look into whether they could receive this kind of help.
Minister for Disabled People, Justin Tomlinson, commented on the news from the DWP.
He said: “This year, World Mental Health Day is championing good health for all.
“We’ve got used to our new daily routine of practicing good social distancing measures to keep ourselves physically safe, but it’s also a timely reminder to make sure we look after our mental wellbeing.
“Losing your job can have a profound impact on your mental health, and we know that being in work is good for people’s overall wellbeing.
“Access to Work grants can provide a vital lifeline for people with mental health conditions so they can get the support they need to stay in work.”
However, one group has called upon the government to support Britons further.
Sara Willcocks, Head of External Affairs at turn2us, national charity focused on helping people gain access to benefits, commented on how the scheme currently operated.
She said: “Access To Work is a great scheme which can provide practical support to help people with disabilities level the playing field at work.
“However, there are 14 million disabled people in the UK, of which only four million are currently able to access working opportunities. This scheme currently lacks the funding to really make a significant difference at a large scale.
“If the government is serious about justice, compassion and equality, they will build on this by increasing the budget and expanding the programme.”
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