A disability or chronic illness can affect anyone. If long-time employees or young people starting out on their careers are affected, assistive products and technical working aids can play an important role.

Steps: 1. Requirement 2. Advice 3. Check Workplace 4. Planning and Testing 5. Funding Application 6. Realisation and Evaluation Procedure for the Provision of Assistive Products for Work Steps: 1. Requirement 2. Advice 3. Check Workplace 4. Planning and Testing 5. Funding Application 6. Realisation and Evaluation Procedure for the Provision of Assistive Products for Work

With technical aids for work, workplaces and the working environment can be adapted to individual impairments. They are also used for early prevention, for example, in case of the threat of a disability by a longer lasting illness. You can find out here how to recognise whether measures are necessary and how to proceed further.

Various factors can be signs that employees have a physical or mental disability and that the work must be designed accordingly:

  • more frequent absences
  • declining productivity or motivation
  • indications in the appraisal interview
  • results of the risk assessment
  • findings within the framework of company integration management
  • accident or diagnosis of illness
  • Findings within the scope of a rehabilitation measure

It may be that employees themselves are not aware of their health impairment or conceal their problem for fear of negative consequences. If the direct manager is attentive and caring and observes reduced performance or unusual behaviour, he or she can become active - by seeking dialogue and signalling help. The aim is to avoid a deterioration in the state of health and ultimately higher follow-up costs.

Depending on the size and nature of the company, other operational actors can also see whether support is appropriate. These could be - representatives for severely disabled persons, staff or works council, the employer's inclusion officer, safety officers, the company medical service or disability management.

A trusting, open working atmosphere is important. In this way, problems can be brought up and helpful steps can be taken.

Employers are often insecure about the health problem of an employee. Advice from external experts is recommended. Small and medium-sized companies in particular can benefit from this.

In order to identify appropriate support measures, the job-related requirements must be matched with individual skills.

An on-site visit to the workplace is important and should involve the worker concerned and acting person (e.g. manager, external technical assistance service).

There are also profiling methods to determine whether the skills and knowledge of the worker fit the job. These are standardised tests and profile comparison methods such as IMBA, MELBA or ERGOS.

Inspection and examination of the workplace often reveal that even simple adjustments (e.g. a different placement of office furniture) and organisational measures (e.g. the possibility of flexible working hours) are sufficient to provide effective support for the impaired employee.

If extensive technical adaptations are necessary, assistive products can be tested before purchase. This service is offered, for example, by some vocational promotion agencies and possibly by the manufacturers or distributors of the products.

Once it has been determined which technical aids will be ordered or which construction measures will be implemented, the worker or company must apply for subsidies before the purchase or the start of construction and then wait for approval.

Depending on the federal state or integration office, different documents must be enclosed with the written application for funding:

  • Medical certificate or discharge report from the rehabilitation clinic on the type and extent of the impairment
  • Details of the doctors treating you
  • Expert opinion
  • Proof of recognised severe disability or equality
  • Personal details and educational and professional background
  • Job or activity description to show the professional relevance of the restriction
  • Copy of the employment contract
  • Cost estimates for planned measures (for technical assistance, structural changes); the number required may vary from region to region
  • Social insurance certificates, health insurance card
  • Indication of the responsible professional association
  • Declaration of consent to release the medical confidentiality, the medical service or the professional association

The page on the application procedure will tell you more about the sequence and deadlines.

The rehabilitation and integration offices offer application forms for benefits for vocational participation.

The process is not yet completed when the workplace is equipped for disabled persons or the working environment has been adapted.

All those involved in work design - first and foremost, of course, the employee concerned and the direct manager - should check that the adaptations are effective and do not entail other health risks. This also applies to direct colleagues. Further optimisation steps are, for example, software updates, technical upgrades or training in the use of technical aids.

With good, forward-looking planning, the positive effects on performance should be noticeable.