- What support services are available to help me return to work?
A Disability Employment Advisor at your local Jobcentre will be able to advise you on opportunities that would be especially good for you. One scheme is called Work Choice, which can help you get and keep a job if you are disabled. Residential training opportunities in England can help disabled adults obtain guidance, experience and qualifications.
The Government has produced a guide to help disabled people who are looking for work, which is available here. There is also information for people who are looking to move from benefits to work.
Different opportunities are available in Northern Ireland. The Condition Management Programme is designed to assist disabled people in obtaining the health care advice they need to return to work. Steps to Work offers guidance from an employment advisor, short courses and long-term support to those who are and are not disabled. You many also qualify for other work schemes and programmes. The full advice for those living in Northern Ireland is available here.
Citizens Advice has a summary of employment schemes in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland available here.
- I would like to get some work but I am concerned I might lose all my benefits, where can I find out more?
The Government provides an online tool that allows you the check if you are receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled. You can also see how your benefits will be affected if you find work. You can access it here.
In Northern Ireland, Disability Action can advise on benefits and ensure that you are acting in your own best financial interest. More information is available here.
- I am interested in volunteering but don’t know how to go about it. Who could I ask?
There are lots of great resources for people looking to volunteer. National organisations in the UK provide information on volunteering opportunities in your area and local centres that can help you find a position that’s right for you. Please also look at the links at the end of this piece too, which may give you some insights and support about how to circumvent potential challenges to volunteering experiences.
If you are in England, see Volunteering England: www.volunteering.org.uk
If you are in Wales, see Volunteering Wales: www.volunteering-wales.net
If you are in Scotland, see Volunteer Scotland: www.volunteerscotland.org.uk
If you are in Northern Ireland, see www.nidirect.gov.uk/volunteering
Access to Work is a government grant scheme for people living in England, Wales and Scotland. You can apply for support for some the costs of your paid employment associated with physical or mental health or disability. For example, you may need special equipment or a support worker at your job, or you may have special transportation needs. With this scheme, you will not have to pay this money back, and it won’t affect any other benefits you receive.
To see if you can apply and make a claim, you will first need to contact an Access to Work centre, in London, Cardiff or Glasgow. More information is available here.