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Getting back to work with a disability: a guide

There are 11 million people in the UK alone having to live with a long-term disability, illness or impairment. Earlier this year, the TUC (Trades Union Congress) revealed in their annual disabled workers conference that the British government wouldn’t reach the target of getting 63% of all disabled workers back to work by the end of the decade.

In fact, according to specialists, this milestone will more realistically not be reached before 2030, ten years later than the initial forecast of 2020 pledged by UK ministers. At the moment, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Luxembourg and Iceland are the only countries in Europe that can boast an employment rate for disabled people of over 60%.

Still, the numbers of disabled people getting into the workplace are up: Justin Tomlinson, the UK’s minister for disabled people, there is a year-on-year increase of 238,000 disabled workers so while the road will be long to completely close the gap and reach equality between disabled and able-bodied persons in the workplace, progress is being made in the country and there are more and more solutions out there to help you find your way back to work.

  1. Compensation

If disability strikes suddenly or if your condition worsens while being on employment or for which someone else is responsible, you could be entitled to a compensation. Don’t hesitate to seek legal help with injury lawyers professionals, specialised in dealing with disability in the workplace.

  1. Allowance and benefitsIf you’re not eligible for compensation, there is a wide range of financial support out there you might be eligible for depending on your type of disability. Disability benefits unfortunately came under the spotlight earlier this year after heavy cuts were made to the Personal Independence Payment, one of the two main disability benefits along with the Disability Living Allowance (DLA). If you were injured at work, the Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit is a more specific type of benefits that can entitle you from £33 up to £168 per week depending on the severity of your injury.
  2. Negotiating working conditions with a future employerAs a disabled worker, you are protected against discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 and your employer is legally obligated to make physical changes and adjustments to your working environment in order to help you get back to work. But negotiating your return to work with a current or new employer can still be a daunting task. The governmental scheme Access to Work can help with the more practical aspects of getting back to work as a disabled person and assist in the workplace, with legal and financial advice. Often, educating bosses and fellow workers about disability in the workplace is crucial in order to successfully manage a return to work with a disability.
  1. Creating your own start-up as a disabled entrepreneurSetting up your own business as a disabled entrepreneur is sometimes a good solution and exciting opportunity if you want to get back to work on your own terms. If you’re on incapacity benefit, starting your own company doesn’t have to mean the end of all financial support. Working less than 16 hours and earning less than £115 per week can count as “permitted work”, which is ideal in the transitional stage at the start of your own activity.
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