Around 300,000 people in the UK have long been ill with Covid – but many are struggling to access and apply for the government’s disability pension scheme, a charity has warned
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Thousands of people rendered unable to work due to long Covid have been told they do not qualify for essential disability support, although some are experiencing debilitating and lasting side effects.
Around 300,000 people in the UK have long been ill with Covid – but many are struggling to access and apply for the Government’s Disability Pension Scheme.
Politicians and action groups warn that not enough has been done to remove barriers to applying for grants.
“A large number of severely disabled people are simply not getting the help they need and are entitled to,” said Dr. Jo House, a spokeswoman for Long Covid Support.
The latest figures show that in January just 937 people with the condition had successfully applied for Personal Independence Payments, which entitle them to £150 a week.
But figures from last month show 322,000 people were “severely” disabled by long Covid, according to the Office for National Statistics.
About 172,000 of them said they had fought every day for the past 12 months.
Jenny Ceolta-Smith, of Long Covid Support’s employment group, said there were “several obstacles” to applying for disability benefits.
“You might be able to do a one-time activity, but then not later in the day,” she said.
Labour’s Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Secretary of State for Works and Pensions, said the right to Statutory Sick Pay for those long ill with Covid should be reinstated, adding that the number of people successfully claiming PIP is “only the tip of the scale The iceberg is when it comes to those who need financial support to live with the disease.”
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said it could not give a figure of how many people with long Covid had applied for PIP. The number has been increasing month-on-month since March 2021, when the benefits system first recognized the condition as a disability.
But as of March 2021, only 1,584 long-Covid people have been screened by the PIP programme.
Of these, 937 are currently receiving benefits, while the remaining 647 are awaiting final government approval, have been denied or are appealing the outcome of their application.
Layla Moran MP, leader of the all-party parliamentary group on coronavirus, said the low number of successful applicants over the past 12 months “suggests that the Government is failing to understand the impact of Long Covid on both people’s health and the UK workforce concerned”. She called on ministers to “review the current financial support available to people affected as a result [of long Covid]lose their job and income”.
A government spokesman said: “There is a strong financial safety net for anyone with a disability or long-term medical condition, including Long Covid, including Statutory Sick Pay, ESA and universal credit. PIP is available to people with long-term health conditions or disabilities and is assessed based on an individual’s needs rather than a diagnosis or condition.”
PIP is a government benefit that helps people deal with some of the additional costs associated with a long-term illness or disability.
The benefit is not means-tested, so it doesn’t matter if you have a job or another source of income.
It was introduced in 2013 to replace the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).
PIP consists of two parts. You may be entitled to one or both components, depending on your needs and how badly you are affected by your condition.
The daily living component pays up to £92.40 a week as you struggle with mundane chores like eating, cooking, washing and making financial decisions.
The mobility expert assesses your ability to “plan and track a trip” and “move around”. It can pay £64.50 per week.
PIP is usually deposited directly into your bank account every four weeks.
The assessment consists of a series of short activities led by a healthcare professional.
During the assessment, the assessor will also ask you questions about how your condition is affecting your daily life. This interview is based on the information you have provided in your application form. Be prepared to give examples of what you find difficult.
They will also ask you to complete a series of tasks based on everyday activities and your condition. You get points for each activity based on your ability to complete the task and how much help you need to do it.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/money/thousands-long-covid-sufferers-denied-26742664 Thousands of long-term Covid patients refused vital DWP support despite being unable to work