Long Covid victim discusses daily impact of virus
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The coronavirus pandemic has changed the lives of people around the UK considerably – but some who are suffering from “long-Covid” or “post-Covid syndrome” have found themselves with debilitating long-term symptoms which can affect their ability to go about life as normal. PIP payments are issued for those with conditions that impact their ability to carry out life as normal, for example going to work and looking after yourself.
What is long-Covid?
Long-Covid is used to describe a range of symptoms that can appear after being infected with coronavirus and has become a significant health issue in the UK.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines long Covid in the following way: “Post COVID-19 condition occurs in individuals with a history of probable or confirmed SARS CoV-2 infection, usually three months from the onset of COVID-19 with symptoms and that last for at least two months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.”
Symptoms can include extreme fatigue, brain fog, headaches, breathlessness, pins and needles and body aches.
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Can I get PIP for long Covid?
Personal Independence Payment (PIP) can be claimed if you have long-Covid – but you must meet the criteria for claiming.
Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Minister Justin Tomlinson recently said: “Due to the nature of the qualifying period for PIP claims, these cases will all be long COVID or post-Covid syndrome cases rather than initial COVID-19 infections.”
He added: “Any individuals with long COVID-19 as their primary reason for claiming PIP prior to March 2021 will not be classified as ‘Coronavirus COVID-19’.”
As of April 2021, the DWP figures show there have been:
• 14 claimants awarded PIP in England for COVID-19
• Six claimants awarded PIP in Wales for COVID-19
• 0 claimants awarded PIP in Scotland for COVID-19
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To claim PIP, you do not need a formal diagnosis of long-Covid or to show that your initial infection with the virus was particularly severe.
Long-Covid is not at this stage classed as a disability – but this has a slim chance of changing over time, according to Aleksandra Traczyk, solicitor at Winckworth Sherwood.
She told Express.co.uk: “Under the Equality Act 2010, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.
“Long term means the impairment has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months or more.
“On October 7, 2021, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that an estimated 1.1 million people in the UK were experiencing self-reported long-Covid.
“Of those, 831,000 had (or suspected they had) COVID-19 for at least 12 weeks previously, and 405,000 at least one year previously. This is a staggering statistic.
“There has been no reported case law on long COVID as yet, but this will undoubtedly change in the months and years ahead as we come out of the other side of the pandemic.
“Some have called for long COVID to be automatically deemed as a disability, but this may also be unlikely.”
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