Friday, April 4, 2008

British firm accused of swindling money meant for disability access

The Guardian in the UK reported April 3 that £37,000 in government money intended to assist deaf and disabled people to access to the workplace appear to be missing and are feared to have been stolen by an employer, an investigation alleges.

"Deaf and disabled employees of Corner (UK) Ltd told 'See Hear,' a BBC programme for deaf people, that they were pressured into signing Access to Work forms enabling their employer to claim allowances for sign language interpreters they did not receive," according to The Guardian.

One worker was registered with Access to Work as receiving 991 hours of support over 18 months but said he only had 18 hours of support. The investigation alleged that Corner claimed as much as £37,000 for interpreters never provided.

The Guardian reports that Access to Work receives £66.8 million annually from the Department for Work and Pensions "to remove barriers faced by deaf and disabled people in the workplace so employers don't have to cover support costs. Employers are responsible for filling in forms detailing the support their employees use, but they have to be signed by employees to verify they have been receiving the services."

As "See Hear" broke the story, you can watch its original report online. It's great to see disability media undertaking these kind of important investigations.