Action on Hearing Loss Logo
    Total results:
    Search
      Total results:

      What recent changes to Access to Work scheme mean for deaf people and people with hearing loss

      Roger Wicks, our Director of Policy and Campaigns, explains the recent changes to the government’s Access to Work scheme and what they mean for deaf people and people with hearing loss.

      By: Roger Wicks | 04 April 2018

      Action on Hearing Loss has welcomed a recent announcement by the Government that the limit on awards made under the Access to Work scheme will rise from £42,100 to £57,200 in April. This change is the result of a coordinated campaign from a number of organisations and, whilst we remain concerned about the impact of the cap, the increase is an improvement that will have an immediate benefit for many scheme users. . 

      Access to Work (AtW) is a government scheme that offers support in the workplace for people who are disabled or have a health condition by providing funding to cover the cost of practical support and specialist equipment.. For people who are deaf or have hearing loss, AtW grants can cover the cost of interpreters or other communication support, or provide equipment such as an amplified telephone or personal listening device.

      The scheme is vital for enabling people to fulfill their employment potential and we’ve been working with other organisations through the UK Council on Deafness (UKCoD)to ensure the scheme delivers for deaf people and people with hearing loss. The scheme supports around 25,000 people each year, just over 3,000 of whom are deaf or have a hearing loss.

      Woman with hearing loss at workplace

      The Government has announced a number of changes to the scheme, the most significant of which is raising the cap on annual award limits from April 2018 to £57,200 (double annual earnings) up from £42,100 (1.5 annual earnings).  

      The introduction of the cap in 2015 was met with disappointment by scheme users and organisations because it was seen as a measure that could harm the career prospects of deaf people who use British Sign Language by restricting the funding available for interpreters. Since its introduction, UKCoD has been working with AtW officials to monitor how the cap has affected people at work.  

      The announcement to raise the cap is certainly a positive step in the right direction, and will mean that many more people will no longer face restrictions that impact their ability to carry out their jobs. This change will, as one user affected by the cap said to us, ‘save careers overnight’.

      Whilst we welcome the increase in the limit on annual awards we share and appreciate the anxiety that the continued use of a cap will have. We will continue to raise these concerns to the Government and we welcome any evidence of the impact that the new cap is having on the aspirations and careers of deaf people.

      Other changes announced to the scheme included:

      • Extra support to customers with high-value awards through automatic workplace assessments.
      • The introduction of managed personal budgets.
      • Continued investment in digital service improvements including online invoicing.

      We are committed to working with the government to ensure the scheme works as well as it can, and also want to see wider reforms and improvements to the scheme. This will include better customer service standards for deaf clients, portable awards and improvements in the ability of assessors to recommend new solutions and technologies.

      Action on Hearing Loss worked through the UK Council on Deafness and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Deafness to secure the change to AtW award limits.

      Read the full AtW announcement here.

      Recent Posts

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      Children (aged 7-12 years) invited to take part in a new research study

      Researchers at University College London (UCL) are investigating the effect of noisy listening environments on children’s ability to understand speech and would like to invite your child to take part.

      By: Katharina Zenke and Shiran Koifman
      16 September 2019

      A new drug to protect hearing?

      Certain medicines can harm hearing as a side-effect. We funded research to understand how a new drug might protect hearing when someone has to take one of these medicines. Tracey, from our Research team, explains in her blog post.

      By: Tracey Pollard
      16 September 2019

      Protecting hearing from ear-toxic medicines

      With the help of our funding, researchers at the UCL Ear Institute have shown that structures called stress granules, which form when a cell is damaged or otherwise stressed, can protect hair cells from the damage caused by ototoxic (ear-toxic) medicines, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics. Dr Ralph Holme, from our Research team, tells us more.

      By: Dr Ralph Holme
      16 September 2019

      Recent Posts

      Hearing Health by Apple

      Hearing loss caused by excessively loud music and audio from personal listening devices is an increasing problem. In the latest version of their Health app, Apple are introducing new features to tackle the issue. They will be available as part of their iOS13.1 software update.

      By: Jesal Vishnuram
      11 October 2019

      Children (aged 7-12 years) invited to take part in a new research study

      Researchers at University College London (UCL) are investigating the effect of noisy listening environments on children’s ability to understand speech and would like to invite your child to take part.

      By: Katharina Zenke and Shiran Koifman
      16 September 2019

      A new drug to protect hearing?

      Certain medicines can harm hearing as a side-effect. We funded research to understand how a new drug might protect hearing when someone has to take one of these medicines. Tracey, from our Research team, explains in her blog post.

      By: Tracey Pollard
      16 September 2019

      Protecting hearing from ear-toxic medicines

      With the help of our funding, researchers at the UCL Ear Institute have shown that structures called stress granules, which form when a cell is damaged or otherwise stressed, can protect hair cells from the damage caused by ototoxic (ear-toxic) medicines, such as aminoglycoside antibiotics. Dr Ralph Holme, from our Research team, tells us more.

      By: Dr Ralph Holme
      16 September 2019

      More like this

      We're really proud of everyone who's a part of Action on Hearing Loss, and hope you'll feel inspired to become a part of our community.​

      We campaign for changes that make life better for people who are confronting deafness, tinnitus and hearing loss.

      Our ears are our organs of hearing and balance. They have three parts: the outer, middle and inner ear.