To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made of the potentials merits of extending Access To Work support to the newly self-employed, in the context of an individual not have an income straight away.
Access to Work already offers support for newly self-employed disabled people operating a business. Access to Work can provide funding for in-work support needs for up to 3 years. At the end of this period the individual must have a business turnover which meets the Access to Work Lower Earnings Limit, currently £6,396. If this is not possible, Access to Work funding will stop.
For self-employed freelancers and contractors, as long as their contract value is equivalent to the National Minimum Wage and they satisfy the Access to Work eligibility criteria, grant funding can be provided for their in-work support needs for the length of the contract.
To support self-employed freelancers and contractors, Access to Work has introduced a Flexible Application to provide greater flexibility for disabled people to take up time limited contracts and freelance opportunities. The flexible application helps to avoid the need for re-applications for Access to Work every time a new period of employment begins and removes the need for repeated holistic assessments where the individual’s needs are unchanged.