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Benefits and Work has published a 7-page, Long Covid PIP supplement, to be used in conjunction with our Guide to PIP Claims and Reviews. The information is taken from three internal DWP documents obtained using the Freedom of Information Act.

The three documents are:

  • IAS PIP Clinical Bulletin: Long-Covid. March 2021   2 pages
  • Service Planning & Delivery Change Delivery Implementation Update 922  4 pages
  • Condition Insight Report (CIR)Long Covid Version 1.1  9 pages

The DWP had previously refused to release these documents to us on the grounds that to do so would “prejudice the effective conduct of public affairs”.

Even now, we cannot publish these documents because of copyright restrictions imposed by the DWP in a letter that accompanied them, but we have quoted from them extensively in our supplement.

The guidance is not legally binding and it was not intended that claimants would have access to it.

The Condition Insight Report, for example, is marked “For internal use only. Not for distribution.”

The PIP Clinical Bulletin says: “Please note: the advice offered by DWP and IAS in this bulletin is intended to be useful to HPs when considering individual situations which are similar to those described. Every case is different and must be considered on its own merits. This bulletin does not represent official, published DWP guidance and must not be directly quoted when offering written or verbal advice to DWP in assessment reports or other settings. The PIP Assessment Guide remains the only definitive published guidance which may be referred to in our reports.” [PCB]

The seriousness with which the DWP are taking the issue is made clear by the fact that staff are told that, in every case where a claimant reports that they have Long Covid, they must be referred to an assessment provider even if it could make no difference to their award..

“Even if a customer is already on enhanced and enhanced and has now reported Post/Long COVID syndrome as a condition you should still refer these cases to an AP - In-house decisions must not be made on any case where Post/Long COVID syndrome is stated as a disability.”

In our supplement, we cover issues including:

  • How long after your initial Covid infection can you make a claim?
  • Do you need to show you have had a positive Covid test in order to claim?
  • Do you have to show that your initial infection was severe?
  • How do the DWP decide whether the effects of Covid are likely to continue for another 9 months (the PIP prospective test)?
  • What symptoms do the DWP expect people with Long Covid to have?
  • Which PIP activities do the DWP consider will be affected by Long Covid?
  • Will you need to show you are getting medication or specialist input for Long Covid in order to get an award of PIP?
  • What happens if you already have an existing PIP award and you develop Long Covid?
  • When will you have your first award review?
  • Can a Long Covid claim end you eligibility for a 10 year light touch review
  • How long is an award likely to last?

The supplement is not intended to be used on its own, it is additional material to be used with our PIP claims guide.

But, given that Long Covid is such a new condition and the DWP have still not published official guidance about it, the supplement provides a valuable insight into how your condition is likely to be assessed. It will help you to know what sort of evidence is required and also what symptoms are likely to be overlooked unless you draw attention to them.

And with widespread predictions of 100,000 new cases of Covid a day in the summer, it is likely that many thousands more people will need to make a claim for PIP due to Long Covid in the coming months.

Members can download the Long Covid PIP Claims Supplement from the PIP claims page.

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Comments  

#1 naheegan 2021-07-20 05:41
(20 July) Watching Newsnight yesterday, and listened to Robert Dingwall -a Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JVCI) member.
Shocked to hear him comment that in the main Long Covid is all anecdotal, basically a figment of the sufferer's imagination. In other words, psychosomatic. And referenced this view as 'we', meaning JVCI having looked at cases of Long Covid; so apparently this is the view of JVCI, not just Dingwall, himself.

And then, to hear Vallance refer to Long Covid as "so-called long covid" makes me wonder if this will be another minefield for claimants to have to navigate to get disability benefits that they are entitled to. Or if DWP is going to walk back some of the qualifiers and make it difficult for those with long term Covid disabilities.
This is especially worrying as JCVI is not recommending widespread vaccines for children.

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