The Guardian: UK doctors with Long Covid say they have been denied disability benefits

The Guardian reports on the problems UK Doctors who caught Covid and have since been diagnosed with Long Covid are experiencing claiming benefits.

Extract

Doctors who worked on the frontline during the pandemic and have been left with long Covid say they have been denied financial support by the UK government, with some left with little option but to sell their house.

Now healthcare staff in the UK have told the Guardian that despite being left with serious impairments as a result of long Covid, they have been turned down for personal independence payment (Pip), a non-means-tested benefit helping people with the extra living costs of their chronic illness or disability.

One respiratory consultant revealed they had been refused Pip despite reporting to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) that they had urinary incontinence, were unable to be on their feet for more than five to 10 minutes without a rest, and had difficulties preparing food, eating, washing, dressing or engaging with people face to face, among other problems.

Speaking anonymously, as their application is under mandatory reconsideration, the consultant said they contracted Covid while working on a coronavirus ward in November 2020 and first applied for Pip in June 2021 after developing long Covid, which has left them unable to work.

MEA Comments

Ella Smith, MEA Welfare Benefits Adviser has provided the following comments:

“As can be seen from this article, there is a continued lack of understanding and recognition given to how debilitating conditions such as Long Covid and M.E. can actually affect people on a daily basis. Fluctuating, “invisible” conditions continue to be viewed with suspicion and downplayed by those tasked with conducting fair assessments, resulting in a lack of financial support and recognition at the very point when it is most needed. It is common to have financial worries as it can be impossible to continue to work, or to work in the capacity in which one used to be able to. For these medical professionals, not having their condition taken seriously after falling ill in the line of duty is an added insult to injury.

PIP is currently responsible for 67% of all benefit appeals according to the latest statistics available; this is a staggering proportion of appeals over just one benefit. The fact that 72% of these appeals are currently successful adds even more weight to the argument that PIP is being poorly assessed, administrated and decided upon. The huge success rate at appeal stage means that it is more important than ever to challenge an unfair decision on PIP if you receive one; please see the ME Association's guide – ESA & PIP – A Guide to Reconsiderations & Appeals

We would urge anyone who is struggling with daily living to consider applying for disability benefits such as PIP. Please do not be put off applying because of media articles as incorrect decisions can be challenged.”

More information on how to apply for PIP can be found here: https://meassociation.org.uk/product/mea-guide-personal-independence-payment-applications/

Ella Smith 
Welfare Benefits Adviser 

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