Today the Minister of State for Disabled People, Mark Harper MP has announced changes to Access to Work for 2015/16 in a written statement published today: Government statement on Access to Work.
The BDA welcomes some changes, including the removal of the “30 hour” rule, increased use of email, a Video Relay Service for BSL users in 2015/2016 and the introduction of easy to read and BSL friendly guidance summaries. The BDA also encourages the move towards supporting people who are self-employed through the Universal Credit rules eligibility.
However, the BDA does not support the proposal to cap the value of Access to Work awards to £40,800 per person per year – one and a half times the average salary – to be introduced for new users at October 2015 and for existing users in April 2018.
This will negatively impact on those Deaf people who require high level communication support to effectively meet the demands of their work.
David Buxton, BDA’s Director of Campaigns and Communications said: “The BDA’s suggestions regarding an arbitration panel for people requiring support over the £40,800 cap seem to have been ignored. We will continue campaigning for this.”
“We have also made our views clear that we only support a National Framework Agreement that safeguards and provides qualified interpreters with NRCDP or SASLI.”
The BDA will continue to consult with the DWP and continue to update its members.