Work Choice – Employment Scheme

Focus on Disability - For Disabled People, the Elderly and their Carers in the UK

A Guide to the Work Choice employment scheme for people with disabilities and long term health issues to overcome the problems faced when it comes to finding and keeping work

It is funded by the government and delivered by providers

How Work Choice can help you

Work Choice helps people with disabilities whose needs cannot be met through other work programmes, Access to Work or workplace adjustments. This might be because you need more specialised support to find employment or keep a job once you have started work.

If Work Choice is for you it will be tailored to meet your individual needs. It will focus on helping you achieve your full potential and moving towards being more independent.

Note: the government awards contracts to organisations (providers) to deliver the Work Choice programme.

Who is eligible

You may qualify if:

  • You are disabled as defined by the Equalities Act 2010 and your disability means that you face significant barriers to work

You are claiming:

  • Incapacity Benefit and/or National Insurance Credit (including Severe Disability Allowance and Income Support); or Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) and/or National Insurance Credits only for six months or more; or
  • on JSA and/or National Insurance Credits for less than six months but on Incapacity Benefit before claiming JSA; or if you have been supported before and need to return to the programme within two years

You may also be eligible if you are currently in work but at risk of losing your job as a result of a disability, or have recently left education and have demonstrated a need for support in work.

How Work Choice helps employers

Work Choice will also ensure employers get the support they need to employ more disabled people.

The sections of Work Choice

The Work Choice programme will be delivered by providers funded by the government. There are three different sections called modules:

Module one: Work Entry Support This will last for up to six months. You will receive help with personal skills and work-related advice to get you into supported or unsupported work.

Module two: In-Work Support This will last for up to two years. You will receive help to start work and stay in your job.

Module three: Longer-term In-Work Support You will receive help to progress in your job and where appropriate, help you move into unsupported work.

Notes on Previous Schemes that no longer exist:

WORKSTEP, Work Preparation and the Job Introduction Scheme are now redundant as everyone who’s going to has already moved over to Work Choice. Access is via the Disability Employment Adviser (DEA), although there is a little used direct route through social care (“Statutory Referral Organisations – SROs) for people in receipt of social care (see below).

If you do not have a Disability Employment Adviser and want to know more about Work Choice, contact your local Jobcentre Plus Office to arrange an appointment.

Some other organisations who work with disabled people will also be able to talk to you about Work Choice. For further information, contact your local council.

A Statutory Referral Organisation (SRO)

These are organisations that provide a statutory service that helps disabled people. These organisations have been commissioned by, or have a contract with, either:

  • a local authority; or
  • a Primary Care Trust; or
  • a local education authority.

And acts on behalf of disabled people in social care with the highest support needs to consider and move into employment, particularly those with learning disabilities and mental health conditions.

Focus on Disability has found reputable and highly experienced professionals in disabled employment circles having concerns as to a wholly positive outlook for Work Choice due to budgetary and administrative issues. Hopefully it will get more disabled people the chance to show what they can and should be able to contribute to the workforce.