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Discuss employment support for disabled people

TraceyAbbottTraceyAbbott Member Posts: 9 Listener
edited April 9 in Guest blogs
Hello, I’m Tracey, a Recruitment Advisor at the Business Disability Forum. I’ll be here for the next two weeks to answer any questions you might have about employment support, or to discuss any issues you’d like to around employment for disabled people.

Also joining me is Michelle (community user name Chell), a Pre-employment Advisor for disabled people, from Scope’s Kent Employment Service. 

Between us I hope that we can offer some great support and advice! 


  • tessatessa Member Posts: 2
    Hi Tracey,
    I am disabled and would like to know if you help people who would like to get back to work and where you support people in help them to find job  
  • JoyJoy Member Posts: 6 Listener
    edited February 2015
    Hi Tracey ,

    My name is Radost Dineva and I'm with cerebral palsy and I'm looking for a job in Birmingham right now. I' am from Bulgaria and have CAE certificate in English, Bachelor degree in Social pedagogy. Also, I have good knowledge of Microsoft package system (Word,Excel, Power point,etc), in addition to that I know German at B1 level.

    My question is whether I should apply for benefits in order the JOBcenter to help me in finding a work or not. It would be very helpful if you tell me about whether there are other ways in which I could find a job in the market. I need to start work, because I want to study master degree in UK, but I have financial difficulties with paying my tuition fee.

    Thank you in advance!

    Best Wishes,
  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener
    edited February 2015

    Hi Tessa,

    Not sure if you have given you an answer yet, Part of my Role as a Pre Employment Advisor for Scope, is precisely that. I help people with all kinds of health conditions and disabilities get back into work. You have not mentioned the area that you live in but i could find out what support is avaliable for you. We cover evething for intervew prepartion sourcing appropriate Roles to the appropriate customer, confidence building and goal setting. Most importantly we support you once you get a job. This will ensure that you have the best chance to keep the job you are in with our support. To be refered to us, if we are avalialble in your area is to go to your local Job Centre Plus.

  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener
    edited February 2015

    Hi Radost

    It's brilliant that you want to support yourself whilst furthering your education.  However, my understanding of the Job Seeking Allowance (JSA) is that you must be available for full time work, also must be actively seeking employment.  Its all about availability.  If you are doing a full time education course this may effect your benefit claim.  I am not a benefit expert so please check this out.  

    Having said that you can always apply for jobs on your own initiative, Speculative letters are brilliant.  It shows initiative and also can get you through the back door to companies who otherwise do not openly advertise for job roles.  The current trend n the job market is you must have a fantastic Covering letter's for advertised roles.  You can no longer just send a auto response to a company.  They must individual to the roles you are applying for it shows that you care and that you are really interested in the company you are applying to.

  • JoyJoy Member Posts: 6 Listener
    Hi Chell, 

    thank you so much for your quick response! 
    I will make research regarding the cover letter and I will definitely work on it. 
    I want to ask something more, if for example I want to work in creative environment (because I have artistic abilities in writing and drawing) should I need to have an equivalent degree in that area to be qualified for jobs like creative writer or illustrator or something like a portfolio would be sufficient? 

    Thanks in advance!

  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener

    Its the Catch 22 question, qualificcatons verses experience /talent. it all depends on the employer, I have been offered a job due to my life experience, rather than qualifications and experience in the role. Depending on the role you may be able to offer a portfolio, but this is where your reseach will come in handy.

    Sorry thats is a bit vague talent will win every time !

  • sophiesophie Member Posts: 1
    Hi was wanting to know you view on putting about my CP on my CV? as I  walk with two stick and it always comes up in interviews it the sense of oh what have you done,  never sure how to deal with it. So thought about putting it on my CV? 

    thanks sophie 
  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener

    Hi Sophie

    I walk with a walking stick and have come accross this on nmost if not all interviews i have had along with some of the client interviews i have attended.  What your talking about is called positive disclosure.  In my opinion, no i would not put this on any application or CV.  I would only declare my disability if it were a two tick company.  The main barrier i see and have experienced is the perception of the employers about disabled people. We are always sick, we are going to need loads of adaptions, insurance etc.  Its our job to be positive about our conditions so that the employers are factually aware of your condition, but also that any problems that you the person with the condition may percieve in the role, but that you have the solution the these percieved problems.  In my case i need a desk higher enough to get my chair and footstall under, my solution is access to work, who have paid for a desk chair and footstall.  Problem and solution.  If you are not comfotable with explaining your conditions then how will the employers be.  Practice in diclosing your condition positively (this can be hard) but please remember that what makes you different is what makes you you ! I  feel that my disability helps makes me a better at putting myself in others shoes and is a positive selling piont to employers.

  • Jean EveleighJean Eveleigh Member Posts: 153 Pioneering
    I've been granted funding for a PA from Access to Work to cover personal plus professional assistance (anything from helping me on the loo to filing and all in between) but cannot find an agency that provides PA's for employment support - all I get told is they only do home help calls :-(

    I don't have the confidence to run payroll for the PA myself so am not looking to self manage someone - HELP please
  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener
    Hi Jean, i dont know the answer to this but i know someone who has support in work, ill see what i can find out. Where are you based?  Have you accepted the grant from ATW as there is sometimes a cust off.
  • Hi!
    I have been working for Tesco 5 years and being Dyspraxic never mafe a difference in all stores I worked outside London as I always had full support and understanding by my collegues and co workers witout even needing to explain much (like my clumsinees, luck of punctuality in time, slow work due to constant fatigue and week muscles due to poor motocoordination and many other....)
    But moving to London and getting transfer I had been shocked and abushed by how many comments, attentions and warnings  I got all of a sudden as well as punishments like redusing my overtime hours for reasons like going too much toilet (without asking me if I have a reason to do that. Which I actually suffer from overeactive bladder, due to anxiety, due to dyspraxia....)
    Also i even got even more depresed when telling trying to explain them my health conditions they find it hard to believe that they actually exist (muscle weekness due to dyspraxia or emergency need to urinate due to overeactive bladder) and asking me endless letters from doctors to actually just believe me and stop giving me hard time.

    Also dont wanting to discriminate any race but  i must mention that all my previews managers and co workers were british and all current managers and co workers are Indian-Asian backround and here were comes my question as how  can u explain to your co workers about disabilities that are not straight away visible and they are only a few months in UK and have never heard about them before and how can u work in such an inviroment having to convince them that Dyspraxia exist and having all the extra frustration to explain it!?
    Shouldnt all work places be aware of all types of disabilities!?
    Shouldnt at least the store manager get a training towards to know a few comon disabilities!?
  • JetsonGeorge79JetsonGeorge79 Member Posts: 4
    Hi Danielly 

    Your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees. This means making reasonable changes to enable you to do your job.  It sounds like your line manager isn't aware of this legislation. It might be worth talking to your manager about this, or if you don't feel comfortable doing that, speaking to your HR department. I understand it might be frustrating having to explain this to your employer but it's important that you get the support you require to enable you to do your job. 

    Have you spoken to Access to work ?  This is a government scheme that can provide advice and assistance to disabled employees in the workplace. They might be able to help you identify some changes that would make your working life easier.

    I hope you get your issues sorted! 

  • e_evanse_evans Member Posts: 3 Connected

    Hi Tracey & Chell

    I am a 50 year old woman who has recently been diagnosed with ASC.

    I know it is causing me issues in the workplace and I would like to disclose to my manager, but I am unsure how to go about it & even what support to ask for.

    Do you have any suggestions?


  • TraceyAbbottTraceyAbbott Member Posts: 9 Listener

    Hi Tessa so sorry I've been slack in returning your email but have had some changes around my own disabilities to manage.

    Alongside the impairment specific charities who de excellent work in this field like Scope, Leonard Cheshire and Mind you can talk to Remploy, again who run a work program who will also be able to guide you and support you through the process.

    Non charities that are great include, de Poel Community and Equal Approach

    I wish you all the best in your hunt and thank you for reaching out

  • TraceyAbbottTraceyAbbott Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Hi Radost, love your avatar and that is a beautiful name. I am sorry is taken me so long to answer your email. You absolutely must go get some support, what a cracking degree it must be fascinating. Anyone who needs the support should get it. You can claim for DSA, Disability Students Allowance. Have a look at this link that explains what its for and who can claim. You should be able to get someone at the UNI to help you get through the paperwork as its a bit onerous but plough on. With that degree and being trilingual you shouyold have a wonderful future in work. I wish you all the best
  • TraceyAbbottTraceyAbbott Member Posts: 9 Listener

    Hi Sophie, apologies for my tardy response, I have had a few mental health issues this week but all better now :-)

    Absolutely tell an employer that you have CP and actually I would put it on the cv. If the company is stupid they wont employ you whether its on there or not as soon as they see you their prejudices are likely to kick in. However the great news is that all of the members of the Business Disability Forum are constantly telling me they would like to reach out to the disabled community and invite to apply. Have a look on our website for companies to approach and any challenges feel free to get in touch. Ooo and another thing you may like is EY are running a two dayfree leadership training course next week with bursaries for accommodation and travel. worthwhile getting in touch with them

  • TraceyAbbottTraceyAbbott Member Posts: 9 Listener
    Hi jean there are any number of ways you can get help and I suspect that Scope are your best bet. they will have support workers that they payroll that could help you. Don't hire directly if you feel it would cause you grief the point is that they ease the burden. Have a chat with the Scope helpline for further information. Best of luck
  • TraceyAbbottTraceyAbbott Member Posts: 9 Listener

    Goodne4ss Danielly that sounds appalling. I would ask to speak to the disability champion in Tesco's, they are very good at putting things right when they are made aware of the challenge. I'm so sorry that you have had this trouble must be really quite depressing.

    Be up front but non confrontational and speak to your line manager about how you can help them get the best out of you. You are a loyal long term employee who wants to achieve to your best. make them aware of this and the simple adjustments you need and hopefully you will feel a lot more comfortable once again but do talk to head office it is a training need for suure

    I wish you luck

  • TraceyAbbottTraceyAbbott Member Posts: 9 Listener

    Afternoon Erica,

    telling your manager can be quite daunting. the good news is that a, they will be as nervous as you and b, the will be relieved as you when they understand the challenges you face and the equally straightforward adjusts that will allow you to continue to be a valuable member of staff.

    BDF published a guide to "having difficult conversations", can I recommend you speak to Joy on the Scope helpline and ask her to contact me and I will send you a free copy to help and one for your line manager. Id love to know how you get on but remember this isn't a dirty secret its part of what makes you , you and fabulous

    best of luck

  • Laura Anne BishopLaura Anne Bishop Member Posts: 1
    edited February 2015
  • ScopeHelplineScopeHelpline Member Posts: 209 Courageous

    Hi Jean,

    Whilst we do have community and home care support services they don't provide personal and office support to individuals in a work setting.

    As discussed in our email exchange I have tried and been unable to find an agency that meets your needs. I've also spoken to a colleague who works for our employment service and he has a lot of experience with the access to work scheme, unfortunately he advised it is unlikely you will find an agency that provide staff for both personal care and office support work.

    I know you don't want to employ a personal assistant but if it is an option you decide to explore it would be worth taking a look at Skills for care toolkit:

    I wish you all the best and hope you manage to find a solution, as you said it definitely seems there is a gap in the market!

    Zoe-Scope helpline


  • hobbithobbit Member Posts: 1 Listener
    Hi, I have been out of work for over a year due to a debilitating M.S relapse, prior to that I have been predominantly self employed as I lost my confidence in working for other people ( relapses had meant that I let people down and I couldn't cope with it).
       I am now getting a power chair and as I'm not trying to use all my energy to walk short distances it has opened up a whole new world of what ifs, work wise. But I don't know where to start or what to do, I have really limited energy and I'm worried I would be letting people down if I tried to work again, I spend a huge amount of time on the computer and that doesnt seem to tire me, I contacted pluss and they said I needed to work over 16 hours a week? have I got that right. 
       Do you have any ideas?. I have been A barmaid, hairdresser, playgroup leader, machine embroiderer and was a phoenix trader for 5 years looking after 17 people, I love helping people and I am only 42, surely there is something I could do, even if its from home?. I just want to feel useful again and help our family financially. Thanks x
  • AJ1982AJ1982 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Hi Tracey,

    I have cerebral palsy and currently receive ESA (support group). My condition differs each day, and I can only spend a few minutes at the computer before I need to rest and lie down.

    I am a graphic designer and would like to earn some income by selling my designs online, and eventually turning this into a business from home.

    I was just wondering if I am allowed to earn any money whilst receiving this benefit, and who should I contact to discuss my plans?

    Many Thanks

  • Jean EveleighJean Eveleigh Member Posts: 153 Pioneering
    Yey I have got an agency that is willing and able to provide me with the support PA I need in work these are the people (if you live in London they may be able to help you too) - Greenwich Association of Disabled People (

    I found them with the help of several disability agencies including Scope and Action on Disability and Work ( who were actually able to signpost me to the agency.
  • MaureenMaureen Member Posts: 2
    Hi, My daughter currently gets ESA in the support category. There is the possibility she could obtain a Supported Internship in a very specific environment that may lead to employment. If this failed for any reason would she be able to return to the support category or would she then be required to "sign on". She would find visiting the job centre a very stressful experience and would be selectively  mute. She could volunteer at the place where she may be offered te Internship would this be a better option?
  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener

    Sorry Peeps, I could not get logged in


    Hi Hobbit, if you have been out of action for some time i would suggest some volunteering, i the field that you would like to go into.  This not only gets you used to going back to work (as you will get tired) but will give you relivant experience, office, computer etc.

  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener

    Jean Eveleigh

    i am so pleased for you



  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener

    Hi Maureen,

    We are not experts in benefits, which to be honest will be changing again come may ( general election). I would not pass up the opertunity to do the tranieeship, especially as they are like gold dust and doing it may help your daughter cope better the next time round. 

    Sorry i cant help with the question other than to say it is alway better to try as you may never know what work.


    Good luck



  • ChellChell Member Posts: 29 Listener

    E Evans,  I am all for openess in he work place as if your employer does not know how can they help you? 

    Do you have 121 with your employer to disscuss your performance, this si a good time to disscuss your condition and the effects it is having on you work.  You have not said who you work for, but some companies have diability champions, if they dont do not worry, there are charities and the goberment Access To Work (ATW) can send a ocupational health adviser out to your company to access you.  This is a goverment run scheme, which i have used at least three times now with great success.  If you need equipment they may help your employer foot the bill.

    If you do not have 121,  ask your manager to have a sit down.  make sure you bring information about your condition along, aswell as any medical notes that you may have.  This will hlep them understand what you have and how it may effect you.

    Good luck




  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Member Posts: 947 Pioneering
    edited March 2015

    Dear AJ1982,

    In answer to your question about ESA and whether you can earn any
    money whilst receiving ESA; yes you can! It’s called Permitted Work.

    Permitted Work allows you to try out work within certain limits.

    There are three types of permitted work:

    Permitted Work Lower Limit- You can earn no more than £20 a week without affecting
    your benefit. If you are on incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance
    and you are also on income support you can do permitted work but any earnings
    over £20 will be deducted from your income support.

    Permitted Work Higher Limit- This is designed to test your ability to work before you
    move permanently into employment. You can earn up to £101.00 a week and you
    must work less than 16 hours a week. As you are in the Support Group you are
    allowed to carry out this level of permitted work for an unlimited period.
    People who are placed into the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) can only
    carry out this level of permitted work for 52 weeks. 

    Supported Permitted Work- This is work that is:

    • Carried out as part of your treatment
      programme under medical supervision while you are an inpatient or a regular
      outpatient of a hospital or similar institution; or
    • Done under the supervision of a person
      employed by a public or local authority or voluntary or community- interest
      organisation that provides or arranges work opportunities for disabled people.

    In the latter case, you do not need the person to be working alongside you. The
    support must be ongoing and regular, but the frequency of contact can vary
    depending on the needs. The means of contact can vary and be face to face or by
    phone. The work can be in the community or a sheltered workshop. There is no
    limit as to how long you can do this type of permitted work provided your
    earnings are no higher than £101.00 a week.

    There are also some provisions for
    self-employed people for work done while ‘test trading’ for up to 26 weeks with
    help from a self-employment provider arranged by the DWP.

    Although you don’t need permission to carry
    out permitted work you will be required to fill in a PW1 form which the DWP can
    send you. Permitted work would count as a change in circumstances so it’s best
    to keep in touch with the DWP to keep them updated. Providing you work within
    the stated limits, any earnings from permitted work will not generally affect
    other benefits you are receiving but do check with the DWP to clarify this.

    I hope that this information is helpful. If
    you need any further guidance please do get back to me and hopefully I will be
    able to help.

    Good luck!

    Kind regards


  • Debbie_ScopeDebbie_Scope Member Posts: 947 Pioneering

    Dear Maureen,

    Thanks for your question. Please see the above comment I posted to AJ1982 regarding Permitted Work. Depending on whether your daughter is offered a paid internship or a voluntary one she could be allowed to carry out this type of work under the permitted work rules.

    If your daughter was to come off ESA to start paid employment she can protect her right to return to this benefit for up to 12 weeks. This is called the 12-week linking rule and it means that any two periods of limited capability for work (ie days when you have a limited capability for work) separated by no more than 12 weeks are treated as a single period. So, if you reclaim ESA within 12 weeks of a previous award, you will not have to serve any waiting days. If you had served the 13-week assessment phase in the previous award, you can go onto the rate of payment of the earlier ESA award straightaway (as long as the previous award was not terminated because you were found not to have a limited capability for work).

    It can all be quite complicated so it's always best to check with the DWP to make sure that you do not incur any over/underpayments. It's also a good idea to check with any other benefits to see if any changes will impact on other benefits she might receive.

    I hope this information is helpful. If you have any further queries, let me know and I'll do my best to answer.

    Kind regards


  • AJ1982AJ1982 Member Posts: 2 Listener
    That's great.

    Thanks a lot for all your help Debbie. I really appreciate it.

  • JenniferUJenniferU Member Posts: 124 Courageous

    Thanks to everyone who got involved in this discussion! We're closing this thread now, but if any of you have anymore employment questions, Michelle will be staying around on the community as an employment advisor and you can find her here:

This discussion has been closed.