Fitting the pieces together

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Will social security benefits be affected by working?

DLA and PIP are payable whether or not a disabled person is working, as they are intended to address the additional costs that an impairment causes in going about normal life.

The position for ESA, is different, however, and generally, a disabled person is not entitled to this in any week in which they work, whether or not they expect to be paid for it, as they will be regarded as capable of work.  However, an important exception to this is what is called “permitted work”, which allows a person to try out work within certain limits. 

Income-related or means-tested benefits, are likely to be affected by starting work, as this is will probably affect the income  of the person concerned.  A person in receipt of Universal Credit is allowed to work and keep some of their earnings up to a certain limit before their Universal Credit is affected. Earnings in excess of this limit, the “work allowance” – which depends on an individual’s circumstances – will reduce their Universal Credit by 65 pence in the pound.

How is the best way to help a disabled person who is seeking work?

The first thing should be to encourage the disabled person to make contact with their nearest  JobcentrePlus.  A  Personal Advisor will normally be appointed for them, who will be backed up by staff with specialist knowledge, contacts and experience of dealing with employment issues for other disabled people.  

What support is available once someone is in work?

Under the Equality Act 2010, employers are required to make appropriate “reasonable adjustments" to the working environment  for a disabled employee so that they are not disadvantaged relative to their colleagues.  The question of what is “reasonable” should take account of the size and nature of the employing organization. They need not be expensive or complex to make.

The Access to Work scheme  offers specialist advice and support to both disabled people and their employers and may be able to help .  Under this scheme, the definition of disability in the Equality Act may be extended to include impairments and health conditions that are only apparent in the work place.

What support is available for Carers?

Within Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, Carers Bucks supports and promotes the well-being of unpaid family members and friends who are carers.  This includes carers of all ages and in different roles caring for people with a physical or learning disability, or someone with mental health problems, including depression. There are more than 49,000 adult carers in Buckinghamshire. Carers may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance.