Support and job opportunities for people with disabilities: is working for yourself an option?

Support and job opportunities for people with disabilities: is working for yourself an option?

There are many areas in the lives of disabled people in which they may need additional support and assistance: housing, work, education, money, leisure, personal relationships, etc.

To help them access the help which is available through local and national organisations, the Department of Health has launched an online portal dedicated exclusively to the needs of disabled people. To access the Depatment of Health`s “Practical Guide for Disabled People or Carers”, please follow this link.

An area which could be particularly problematic for disabled people is employment. While there is a list of organisations and initiatives launched to assist people with disabilities in employment and link them to job opportunities, self-employment is another option worth considering.

 What support is available to disabled people who consider starting up their own business and becoming self-employed?

Income Tax Allowance: on expenses including travel, subscriptions to magazines, heating and lighting the workplace in your home. If you have a disability and usually work 16 hours or more a week, you may be able to get extra tax credits. The disability must be one that makes it hard for you to get a job and you must be receiving, or have recently received, a qualifying sickness or disability-related benefit. To find out how to get extra tax credits, visit the HM Revenue and Customs website.

The Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG): the government`s guaranteed lending scheme intended to help smaller viable businesses who may be struggling to secure finance, by facilitating bank loans of between £1,000 and £1 million. To find out additional information please following this link.

Business Start-up Allowance from some Learning and Skills Councils (LSC) in England and The National Council for Education and Training for Wales or Local Enterprise Councils (LECs) in Scotland is part of a package which includes training in setting up a business and business planning.

All newly self-employed people have to register for National Insurance contributions and Income Tax. Booklet PFE1 from the Inland Revenue contains a registration form for National Insurance contributions and Income Tax. Many disabled people will not have to pay National Insurance contributions if they earn below the threshold. You will also not have to pay VAT if your annual turnover is less than a certain amount. If, however, it is above this amount, you will need to apply to Customs and Excise for VAT registration (0845 0109000). Further information is available from the Self-Employed Agency on 0845 9154515.

You can find all information necessary for setting up and developing your own business from the website of Business Link.

Where can people with disabilities find further help?

Take a look at the following booklet “Setting up in Business: A Resource Guide for Disabled People and their Advisers”. It contains practical information about tax, Access to Work Scheme, business planning, grants, finance and working from home. You can request a copy by emailing:

Disability Charity Leonard Cheshire and Sir Stelios Hajiloannou

Run the annual Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur Award with a prize of £50 000.You can find more information on the application procedure by visiting the organisation`s website.

Benefits Enquiry Line
for advice about all benefits and how to claim them.
Phone free: 0800 882200 (Mon-Fri 8.30-18.30, Sat 9.00-13.00);
For help filling in claim forms, phone free: 0800 441144.

Disability Benefits Helpline
Tel: 0845 7123456, for advice on Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance.

Citizens Advice Bureaux (CABs)
Provides advice on a wide range of money, housing, legal and other problems. See your phone book for local numbers.

DIAL (Disability Information Advice Line)
Run mostly by disabled people. See phone book for your local DIAL or call DIAL-UK.
Tel/textphone: (01302) 310123.

Disability Rights Commission.
Helpline: 0845 7622633 (Mon-Fri 8.00-20.00);

Disabled Living Centres (DLCs)
Local centres where you can see, try out and get information and advice on equipment. See ‘Equipment and aids for daily living’ under ‘Help with everyday needs’ for a list of centres or call the Disabled Living Centres Council.
Tel: (0161) 834 1044;

RADAR (The Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation)
Has a wide selection of helpful publications.
Tel: (020) 7250 3222

This article has been published in Issue 5 of Action for Social Integration’s Community Advice E-Newsletter, August 29th 2010
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