Worried about money if you try work?

If you want to work, either paid or unpaid, and you are on ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), you may be allowed to work and still keep your benefits.


To do this, you will have to do work under what is known as ‘permitted work’ . You will be able to keep your ESA if you earn up to £125.50 a week and you work less than 16 hours a week.


You will also have to fill in a permitted work form to tell DWP that you are doing permitted work.


Please visit the gov.uk site for further information. You can also download a form to send to the DWP to inform them that you are doing permitted work.


You can also check if you are able to claim any additional benefits on the turn2us website.

Access to Work

Access to Work is a government programme that can provide practical support if you are a disabled person or have a long term physical or mental health condition and you want to work. The money doesn’t have to be paid back and it does not affect any other benefits.


Access to Work can help pay for support you may need because of your disability or long term health condition, for example:

  • equipment or adaptations to equipment in your workplace
  • money towards any extra travel costs to and from work if you can’t use available public transport, or if you need help to adapt your vehicle
  • an interpreter or other support at a job interview if you have difficulty communicating
  • other practical help at work, such as a job coach or a note taker or lip speaker


If you have a mental health difficulty, you may be offered assistance from the Mental Health Support Service to develop a plan to support you going in to, remaining in or returning to work and suggestions for reasonable adjustments in the workplace.


In order to assist you, we have produced a factsheet for employees and one for employers which you can download below.

Access to Work Employee Factsheet

Dowload our factsheet in Word to give you some ideas about what to expect from Access to Work.

Access to Work Employer Factsheet

Dowload our factsheet in Word to give you some ideas about what to expect from Access to Work.

There is also information available from the gov.uk site, as well as a Customer Information Sheet and Employer Information Sheet.


Important note: The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are not covered by Access to Work and there is a different service in Northern Ireland.