Long Covid: Disability

Department for Work and Pensions written question – answered on 24th November 2021.

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Photo of Mohammad Yasin Mohammad Yasin Labour, Bedford

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what assessment she has made made of the potential merits of classifying Long Covid as a disability, for the purposes of giving employment protections under the Equality Act 2010 to affected people.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith Assistant Whip, The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions

‘Long Covid’ is not classed as a disability. COVID is still a relatively new condition and work is ongoing to understand its long-term effects. Making such a determination would therefore be premature.

As research into the long-term health symptoms and impacts of COVID-19 is ongoing, we will continue to monitor and consider the Government’s support provisions and approach in line with the emerging evidence.

As part of the Government's response to the pandemic, individuals may be eligible for SSP where they are sick or self-isolating due to coronavirus, including where they have tested positive for coronavirus but otherwise feel well. Statutory Sick Pay is payable from the first day of sickness absence from work, rather than the fourth, where an individual is self-isolating due to coronavirus. The usual eligibility criteria continue to apply.

If an individual requires further financial support while off work sick, for example where their income is reduced while on Statutory Sick Pay, they may be able to claim Universal Credit depending on their personal circumstances. Where they are not eligible, for example because they earn below the Lower Earnings Limit, they may also be able to claim New Style Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit.

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