The British Association of Teachers of the Deaf
Promoting Excellence in Deaf Education


Nicki Harris

Head of Post 16, Surrey Physical and Sensory Support Service

Over recent years, I have been approached to interpret for many BATOD events such as AGMs, Special Interest Groups and Committee Meetings. However, the thorny subject of payment has usually created discussion. BATOD have always ensured that their interpreters’ invoices are paid promptly in every region but, with all costs escalating, this is a burden on your membership fees.

Following discussions with various NEC members, I have been asked to highlight the potential funding sources available via Access to Work.

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work is available to help overcome some of the practical obstacles of employing a disabled person. The responsibilities of the employer, with regard to Health and Safety and complying with the DDA, remain the same but Access to Work offers advice to both the employee and the employer. Through Jobcentre Plus, there is a grant available to the disabled employee, subject to certain criteria, which will part-meet or fully cover additional employment costs, which are the direct result of the employees’ disability.

How it works

Access to Work can offer a grant to support the disabled person’s access to their job.
  • People starting work with you = the grant can be up to 100% of approved costs
  • Existing employees = the grant is up to 80% of approved costs above the first £300

Examples of Access to Work Support

  • Communicator support at interview (CSI)
    This could be up to the full cost of an interpreter to remove any communication barriers
  • A support worker
    This may be a reader for a visually impaired person or a BSL Interpreter (not at interview as this is covered by the CSI)
  • Specialist equipment
    Suitable text/email/fax/mobile for a Deaf employee
  • Building adaptations
  • Help with additional travel costs, to and from work, for people who cannot use public transport

The disabled person will be assessed by the Access to Work adviser, either face to face or by telephone. If specialist technical advice is required, the Adviser will organise this.

Unfortunately, this might not happen immediately, but temporary arrangements can be put in place.

The employer pays for the support, in the first instance, and claims these costs back from Access to Work via Special Claim forms.

For all new employees (the application has to be made within six weeks of starting work or you employ an unemployed person) the grant is up to 100% of the approved costs.

Existing employees who apply may have a proportion of the support costs met as detailed below.

Approved CostMaximum Access to Work contribution
Less than £300Nil
Between £300 and £10,00080% of the cost over £300
Over £10,00080% of the cost between £300 and £10,000 & 100% of the cost over £10,000

A review of needs will take place every three years or can be arranged it the circumstances change.

These costs are only available when additional costs are incurred due to a disability. Always check your obligations under the DDA as this, in no way, makes you exempt from them. If you would like further information, contact your local Jobcentre Plus.

Let us hope that additional support costs can, in part, be met by Access to Work.


BATOD members in Wales may be interested to know that funding is available for Oral Support as well as BSL Support. Liz Morrison, Advisory Teacher of the Hearing-Impaired in Wales, has been assured that funding may also be available for a family member to act as an oral communicator if that person was deemed to be competent.