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13 January, 2021 Open access

DWP advises that data on ESA and PIP claims from people diagnosed with Long Covid is not available or has not been collected

Minister for Disability, Health and Work says that the costs of providing ESA data are ‘disproportionate’, while the PIP computer system has not been updated to record the condition

Data on employment and support allowance (ESA) and personal independence payment (PIP) claims from people diagnosed with Long Covid is not available or has not been collected by the Department, the DWP's Disability, Health and Work Minister Justin Tomlinson has advised.

Responding to a written question from SNP MP Angela Crawley in the Commons yesterday on how many people are in receipt of ESA and PIP as a result of Long-Covid - described on and by NHS England as persistent and multiple health problems experienced by some people who have had Covid-19 that may include respiratory symptoms, cardiovascular symptoms, depression and fatigue - Mr Tomlinson said -

‘In relation to your question on ESA. Information on lower level medical conditions is not currently available and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost …

In respect of your question on PIP the information you requested is not held by the Department. A specific diagnosis code for Long Covid does not exist in the PIP Computer System. Claimants who experience Long Covid symptoms will have a disability recorded that links with the claimant’s functional needs.’

NB - in its Economic and fiscal outlook - November 2020 (at paragraph 3.98) the Office for Budget Responsibility highlighted that the virus and Long Covid were relevant factors that influenced its decision to revise its estimate of the Department’s disability benefit spending up by £0.9 billion a year on average.

Mr Tomlinson’s written answer is available from