£40 million personalised support package for long-term unemployed disabled people launched
Disabled people will be able to work with a dedicated key worker to get and stay in employment, the new Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd has announced today
The support comes from a new £40 million fund and is expected to benefit 10,000 people.
The Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme will provide highly personalised packages of employment support for people who are at least a year away from moving into work.
People will get coaching to help build their independence, confidence and motivation, as well as work experience to help boost their career prospects.
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Amber Rudd said:
"Everyone, no matter what their background is, should have the opportunity to thrive in the workplace, and having the right support in place for disabled people is one of my greatest priorities.
"To truly help people transform their lives, there can be no one-size-fits-all approach.
"That’s why this new programme is designed to offer people, who may think they will never move into work, tailored support to help them overcome any personal barriers they may have in the first instance, and then to focus on boosting their skills.
"There are also huge economic benefits to improving disability employment rates. More than half of disabled people are in work, but in order to realise the full potential of disabled people in Britain we want to go further and see one million more disabled people in work by 2027."
People on the scheme will get a dedicated key worker who will work with them to overcome complex barriers which may be preventing them from entering work, ensuring they have a personal support network in place.
The voluntary scheme will be rolled out across England and Wales in 2019, and applicants will receive support for up to 21 months, including 6 months of in-work support for those who get a job.
Neil Heslop, Chief Executive of Leonard Cheshire, said:
"Many disabled people with complex needs face significant barriers in accessing the workplace. It’s crucial that specialised employment support is available and the government responds to the challenges people often encounter.
"A more tailored approach can help reach those who are not currently receiving any employment support or skills development. The experiences of disabled people must be central for this support to meaningfully build confidence in an ongoing way, reflecting their individual circumstances and aspirations."
The Intensive Personalised Employment Support programme will support people living with a disability who are unlikely to move into work within the next year or longer and may need additional support.
Other government support to help disabled people get into and thrive in work includes the Disability Confident scheme, the Work and Health programme, the Access to Work grant and Jobcentre Plus services.
The Secretary of State also announced measures to reduce the most severely disabled benefit claimants having their awards unnecessarily reviewed.
Personal Independence Payment covers some of the extra costs caused by long term disability or ill-health.
New guidance will ensure that people who are awarded the highest level of support under Personal Independence Payment will receive an ongoing award, with a ‘light touch’ review every 10 years so they no longer have to have their conditions re-examined.
Previously this was going to only be applicable for new claims, but the Secretary of State has now taken steps to ensure this also applies to existing claims.
This is to ensure that for disabled people who need extra support, the system is designed to be as seamless as possible while minimising any unnecessary stress or bureaucracy.