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Sophie Morgan, who will front Channel 4’s coverage of the games starting in Tokyo today, is one of over 43,000 disabled people benefiting from Access to Work. She was helped by the scheme after being paralysed from the chest down in a car crash when she was 18.
The Department for Work and Pensions scheme supports people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition stay in employment, providing grants of up £62,900 to keep a job accessible.
Ministers extended the benefit last year to cover those who work from home.
Access to Work provided Ms Morgan with a support worker and specialist equipment which has helped her to forge a career in broadcasting.
She recently hosted her own travel show on Channel 4, Living Wild: How To Change Your Life.
Ms Morgan, 36, said: “Access to Work has been a lifeline for me as a paraplegic working in television.
“They have funded support workers to join me in locations that aren’t accessible for my wheelchair, equipment that has given me greater independence and overall, helped remove the barriers that would have otherwise prevented me from doing my job.
“As one of the first female presenters in the world who uses a wheelchair, I feel passionate about raising awareness of Access to Work. Disabled people need as much support as we can get in order to get equality of opportunity, and Access to Work is a vital resource.”
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Justin Tomlinson, the Minister for Disabled People, said: “Sophie is an inspiration and a shining example of how Access to Work can help people with disabilities and health conditions reach their full potential.
“Through schemes such as Access to Work and our Plan for Jobs we are removing barriers and helping more disabled job seekers to find, retain and progress in fulfilling work
As one of the first female presenters in the world who uses a wheelchair, I feel passionate about raising awareness of Access to Work
“I would encourage anyone with a health condition or disability who needs extra support at work to find out how Access to Work may help them.”
As part of the Government’s National Disability Strategy, the Department for Work and Pensions is seeking to improve the scheme by piloting an Access to Work Adjustments Passport.
Designed to help smooth the transition from education into employment and support people changing jobs, the passport will identify the in-work support needs of the individual and help them to discuss their requirements with employers.
The Access to Work scheme is available to help people who are disabled or have a physical or mental health condition stay in employment and covers those who work from home. It can provide grants up to £62,900 to keep a job accessible.
Official figures show 43,400 people across the country received money through Access to Work in 2019/20, a 20 percent increase on the previous year, while £141.7 million was invested in the scheme.
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