The DWP has issued guidance to DLA decision makers on how to deal with awards for Long Covid in children, but there is no evidence that similar guidance has been issued for PIP or for the work capability assessment for ESA and UC.
The DWP has updated its 950 page Medical guidance for DLA and AA decision makers (child cases) to take account of Long Covid, or post-COVID as it is referred to in the guide.
Decision makers are told that children who remain unwell at 12 weeks after the onset of COVID-19 with a wide variety of symptoms, and whose long term prognosis is unknown, meet the diagnostic criteria for post-COVID syndrome.
Decision makers are told:
“Some may recover in a few more months and some may recover over a longer time period. Others may remain unwell or become more unwell over time. Fluctuating functional impairment and wide ranging symptoms that change over time, seem to be a feature of the condition.
“It is those children who have significant functional impairment at 12 weeks and do not seem to be recovering, who may have entitlement to DLA Child.
“Always consider the qualifying period and prospective test when assessing needs in a claim for DLA Child.
“A child does not have to have had a positive test result to be diagnosed with the syndrome. Testing has not always been easily available.”
The guidance includes symptoms of post-COVID.
Decision makers are told they must refer all cases where post-COVID is stated as a disability to the on site health professional before they make a decision on the claim, but that where an award is made, 12 months is appropriate.
What we don’t know yet is what guidance has been issued to assessors and decision makers relating to post-COVID in connection with PIP or the work capability assessment.
Benefits and Work has made a freedom of information request for any such guidance. We’ll let you know what we find out.