Everything you need to know about Access to Work if you’re
Deaf or Hard of Hearing.

What is Access to Work?

Access to Work is a discretionary grant scheme that provides support to people in employment in the UK that have a disability or a physical or mental health condition. If you’re deaf or hard or hearing, you may be eligible to receive an Access to Work grant.

Under the Equality Act (2010) your employer must make reasonable adjustments to ensure you are not substantially disadvantaged whilst doing your job if you are deaf or hard of hearing.

If your employer is unable to make reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from Access to Work. Scroll down to see if you could be eligible for Access to Work funding.

access to work image of a board meeting with CART captions shown

How much can I get?

Grants of up to £60,200 per year are available to successful applicants.

How to Apply

To have your needs assessed and acquire funding, you will need to complete this form.

Am I eligible?

In order to be eligible for Access to Work funding, you must:

  • Have a disability or health condition (physical or mental) that makes it hard for you to do parts of your job or get to and from work
  • Be 16 years old or over
  • L
  • live in England, Scotland or Wales – there’s a different system in Northern Ireland

People who are deaf or hard of hearing are eligible for Access to Work however you need to have a paid job, or be about to start or return to one. A paid job could include:

  • Self-employment
  • An apprenticeship
  • A work trial or work experience
  • An internship

You can’t get a grant for voluntary work.

If I already receive certain benefits, can I apply for funding?

Receiving certain benefits may affect whether you can get an Access to Work grant. If you receive:

  • Universal Credit, Jobseeker’s Allowance or Income Support:
    You can still get help from Access to Work if you are deaf or hard of hearing and work more than one hour a week.
  • Employment and Support Allowance:
    You can only get help from Access to Work if you’re doing
    ‘permitted work’. It’s permitted work if all of the following apply:
  • You earn up to £140.00 a week
  • You work less than 16 hours a week
  • It’s been agreed with your work coach

As an employer, what is my responsibility?

As an employer, it is your responsibility to make certain changes so that your deaf or hard of hearing employee is not substantially disadvantaged when doing their job. These are known as ‘reasonable adjustments’ and can include:

  • Changing the recruitment process so a candidate can be considered for a job
  • Doing things another way, such as allowing someone with social anxiety disorder to have their own desk instead of a hot-desk
  • Making physical changes to the workplace, like installing an audio-visual fire alarm for a deaf person
  • Letting a disabled person work somewhere they are comfortable with
  • Allowing employees who become disabled to make a phased return to work, including flexible hours or part-time working
  • Offering employees training opportunities, recreation and refreshment facilities

The aforementioned applies to all workers, including trainees, apprentices, contract workers and business partners. If the support your deaf or hard of hearing employee needs isn’t covered by your reasonable adjustments then they may be able to get help from Access to Work. You can get advice on reasonable adjustments from the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA) at your local Jobcentre Plus office.

More information about employers’ obligations and how to meet them can be found on the Equality and Human Rights Commission website.

How do I provide reasonable adjustments?

You can ask if a candidate needs an adjustment to the recruitment process to allow them to be considered for the job, or you can wait to be told. You must make adjustments if they’re reasonable, for example allowing candidates to complete a written test using a computer.

After you’ve made a job offer to a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, you can ask what adjustments they’ll need to do the job.

Can Ai-Media liaise with Access to Work on my behalf?

As a registered supplier of Access to Work, we are able to liaise with them on your behalf if third party authorisation is in place on your customer account. You need to provide us with the security details of your account. Example questions of what we can be asked include your personal/work address, date of birth, customer reference number and the organisation you work for.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing and prefer not to use the phone, please refer to the email address or textphone contact details provided below.

What’s on offer

Each applicant is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Grants can be used to help in a number of ways, such as covering the costs of practical support within the workplace. Grants can also be used to purchase accessibility resources from approved providers, like us!

You can use an Access to Work grant to make your workplace accessible with Ai-Live. Ai-Live is a captioning solution that delivers real-time, speech-to-text to any web-enabled device.  Our team of highly-trained captioners and stenographers are able to deliver captions directly to the user within 5 seconds. It’s that simple.

Get started with live captioning

Once your funding for our support has been approved, you should email us a copy of your funding entitlement for our records.We will then provide you with a registration link to create your free customer account.

Our system is designed to assist people who are deaf or hard of hearing, allowing you to book your meeting support online, access your captions, and download your transcripts afterwards.

How does live captioning work?

Highly trained captioners listen to what is being said and re-speak what they hear, including punctuation and grammar, into our captioning software, Ai-Live. This is converted into live captions and streamed to your tablet or laptop enabling you to read what’s being said, as it’s being said. All that is needed is:

  • A live audio feed
  • An internet connection
  • A web-enabled device to view the captions on (e.g. iPad or laptop)

how live captioning works image

What is Ai-Live?

Ai-Live provides access and inclusion anytime, anywhere. We use real people, not computers, to convert speech into text to ensure the text matches what’s being said. This all takes place using the internet to stream the words live to laptops, tablets and smartphones.

You can use live captioning for meetings, training sessions and teleconference calls. In addition, a transcript of your session is made available within 24 hours. Through your Ai-Live account, you can view your captions, book sessions, access your transcripts, and add any tricky jargon to your dictionary to further enhance the quality of your live captioning experience.

Contact Access to Work & further information

There are a number of ways you can contact the support team at Access to Work (open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm).

Email: dwponline.helpdesk@dwp.gsi.gov.uk

Textphone: +44 (0) 800 121 7579

Telephone: +44 (0) 800 121 7479

Please visit the UK government website https://www.gov.uk/access-to-work for further details.

The benefits of live captioning

Read what our customers have to say

man with a red beard

“My experience of Ai-Media has been amazing. I never thought that I could have the same
opportunities as the rest of the society, as there were far too many barriers in my path.”

– Ed Stevens,
Northampton University

Photo of Matthew Johnston

“Undoubtedly, Ai-Live has allowed me to further enhance my career prospects and to work more confidently.”

– Matthew Johnston, IG Group

Woman smiling

“Live captioning has always been something I’ve dreamed of. Special thanks as well to all the captioners at Ai-Media who make my working life so much easier!”

– Nikki Crocker, GlaxoSmithKline

Photo of Florence Murphy

“The captions come through very quickly, which means you are more up to speed with what is happening in the conversation at the time it is progressing. Sometimes I can make observations and take part in the discussion, which wasn’t possible before.”

– Florence Murphy,
Bennetts Associates


Have you got questions about how we can help you in the workplace?