More disabled people gain employment support though the Access to Work scheme

Disabled people are getting more help to obtain or keep a job than this time last year, official figures have suggested this week.

Over 2,000 more people with disabilities have been enrolled in the Access to Work programme, meaning that a total of 22,760 people were supported by the scheme between April and June - representing an increase of 10%.

Access to Work helps disabled people cope with added work-related costs, such as fees for support workers, specialist aids and equipment, as well as travelling to and from their place of work.

"Access to Work offers unique and tailored help so that disabled people can have the same choice of jobs as everyone else - in every sector, from hairdressing to engineering and everything in between," Mike Penning, Minister of State for Disabled People, said.

"This is about supporting disabled people to fulfil their aspirations in the workplace. I would urge disabled people who are looking for work, or need more support to stay in their job, to find out how this scheme can help them."

The scheme helped 31,400 people with disabilities keep or get a job last year and statistics show that 10,390 new claims for funding were made last year too - the highest level seen since 2007.

Access to Work has also helped a record number of people with mental health difficulties maintain or obtain work, the research indicates.

Young people with disabilities are also now entitled to support through Access to Work while taking part in a Youth Contract Work Experience scheme, or participating in a supported internship or traineeship.

New changes to the regulations mean that businesses with fewer than 50 employees are no longer required to contribute towards the cost of the scheme - meaning that they could save around 2,300 per employee that enrols in Access to Work.

Copyright Press Association 2013