Of people with disabilities in the UK of working age, almost half are employed. This figure should be higher. With the right support, many more could be employed.

You may be worried that your disability will limit your job prospects. But, there's lots of guidance, support, and training to help you into employment.

Government schemes can help. These initiatives challenge the stereotypes about people with disabilities to ensure that everyone has a fair chance of working.

Leonard Cheshire Disability runs an internship scheme called Change100, which brings together the UK's top employers and talented disabled students.

Watch videos and read personal stories from three Change100 role models who share the benefits of the scheme.

Find out more about how Leonard Cheshire Disability supports disabled people looking for work.

Know your rights

Whatever your physical or learning disability, you have a right to equality, fairness, respect, and understanding at your workplace.

Employees and jobseekers with disabilities are legally protected against discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. You're legally entitled to fair treatment when it comes to recruitment, promotion, and pay. It also means that employers must make their workplaces accessible to you.

It's now recognised that working has health benefits. The government has pledged to help employers and the medical profession work together to get people with disabilities into work. GOV.UK outlines the help available in looking for work if you're disabled. It contains advice on looking for work, work schemes, support while you're at work, and employment rights.

Your local job centre can arrange an interview with a disability employment adviser. Advisers are specially trained to help disabled people find suitable jobs. To find your nearest centre, visit GOV.UK: Contact Jobcentre Plus.

GOV.UK also has details of the "two ticks" scheme for disabled people. Employers who adopt this initiative take a positive approach to disability. They offer interviews to all disabled applicants who meet the minimum job criteria. Look out for the two ticks symbol on websites and job application forms.

Government support for disabled people to find suitable work

There are two government schemes to help you find suitable work: access to work and work choice.

Access to work

Access to work is a scheme that provides money towards the cost of equipment or support workers. This is with the aim to enable you to work. You can find out more by reading the information on the GOV.UK website.

Work choice

Work choice is a scheme that helps people with disabilities who can't be helped by other work schemes. It can provide you and your employers with support. Find out more on the GOV.UK website.

Financial support for disabled workers

If you're ill or disabled, you may be able to apply for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). This offers you:

  • financial support if you're unable to work
  • personalised help so that you can work if you're able to

You can apply for ESA if you're employed, self-employed or unemployed.

You might be transferred to ESA if you've been claiming other benefits like Income Support or Incapacity Benefits.

How much ESA you'll get

How much ESA you get depends on:

  • your circumstances, such as your income
  • the type of ESA you qualify for
  • where you are in the assessment process

Find out more from GOV.UK about how much ESA you can get.

Universal Credit

Universal Credit provides a new single system of means-tested support for working-age people who are in or out of work. Support for housing costs, children, childcare costs, carers, and claimants with health conditions and disabilities are integrated into the new benefit. This means that more support will be targeted at people with more severe disabilities.

This will be achieved through two elements. The Limited Capability for Work element and, for more severely disabled claimants, the Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity element. Entitlement to these elements is based on the outcome of a Work Capability Assessment, aligning with existing arrangements for ESA.

  • The Limited Capability for Work (LCW) Element is £124.86 per month. This is the same level of support provided for disabled adults in the Work Related Activity Component of ESA).
  • The Limited Capability for Work and Work Related Activity Element (LCWRA), the higher rate of additional support for severely disabled adults, is £311.86 per month. (This is significantly more than the support currently provided by the Support Component of ESA).

The LCWRA element is at a higher rate than the ESA equivalent to recognise the additional needs of severely disabled claimants.

Additionally, disabled people will receive larger work allowances for earned income. The government hopes this will encourage people currently out of work to take their first steps into employment. They aim to do this by increasing the incentives to do even a small amount of work.

Find out more from GOV.UK about Universal Credit.

Work Capability Assessment

You must go to a Work Capability Assessment while your ESA claim is being assessed. This is to see to what extent your illness or disability affects your ability to work.

You'll then be placed in one of two groups if you're entitled to ESA:

  • work-related activity group, where you'll have regular interviews with an adviser
  • support group, where you don't have interviews

How employers can help disabled workers

Employers can also find information on GOV.UK about recruiting disabled people and helping disabled employees to stay in work.  

If you're disabled or become disabled while in work, your employer should help you to stay in your job. Changes that your employer should consider, in consultation with you could include:

  • transferring you to another post
  • making changes to your place of work
  • providing a reader or interpreter

There may be support for your employer to make these changes through Access to Work.

You can see examples of how employers helped different employees to stay in work on GOV.UK.

Information for carers in the workplace

If you're a carer who also works or is thinking about returning to work, the Carers UK has information on: