What to do if you become disabled

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If you're in employment and become disabled

Your employer cannot discriminate against you because of your disability - you’re protected by the Equality Act 2010.

They must also keep your job open for you and cannot put pressure on you to resign just because you’ve become disabled.

Reasonable adjustments

Your employer must make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for you so that you’re not disadvantaged compared to non-disabled people.

This could include:

  • a phased return to work, for example working flexible hours or part-time
  • time off for medical treatment or counselling
  • giving another employee tasks you cannot easily do
  • providing practical aids and technical equipment for you

Get help from Access to Work

If the help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from Access to Work.

An Access to Work grant can pay for:

  • special equipment, adaptations or support worker services to help you do things like answer the phone or go to meetings
  • help getting to and from work
  • mental health support
  • communication support at a job interview (for example, a British Sign Language interpreter or a lipspeaker)

Time off from work

If you’re an employee and cannot work because of your disability, you may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Some employers have their own sick pay scheme instead.

If you still cannot work after 28 weeks, or you cannot get Statutory Sick Pay, you can apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

Time off from work should not be recorded as an ‘absence from work’ if you’re waiting for your employer to put reasonable adjustments in place.

Check your employment status if you’re not sure whether you’re an employee or not.

Dismissals and redundancy

Your employer cannot dismiss you just because you’ve become disabled.

You can be dismissed if your disability means you cannot do your job even with reasonable adjustments.

You cannot be selected for redundancy just because you’re disabled.

For advice about work issues, talk to Acas (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service), Citizens Advice or your trade union representative.