We are committed to improving employment outcomes for disabled people and people with health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. We have seen almost 950,000 more disabled people in work over the five years to the first quarter of 2019.
Access to Work offers disabled workers practical advice and a discretionary grant of up to £59,200 per year for in-work support. Access to Work does not record arthritis as a primary medical condition category, as the scheme uses the same categories as the Labour Force Survey. However, last year Access to Work paid over £13 million to individuals who listed ‘arms or hands, 'legs or feet' and 'back or neck' as their primary medical conditions, and many of these will be people living with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. That represents over 10% of the total Access to Work spend and a 2% increase, in real terms, on the previous year.
In addition, DWP is engaging with employers through the Disability Confident scheme - supporting them to feel more confident about both employing disabled people, including people with arthritis, and supporting disabled employees to realise their potential. Over 12,000 employers have signed up to the scheme so far.
Looking forward, DWP is working in partnership with Department of Health and Social Care to publish a consultation on how employers can best support disabled people and people with long-term health conditions like arthritis, to stay and thrive in work. The proposals included in the consultation not only seek to benefit disabled people, but all employees who experience or are at risk of a long term sickness absence.