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12 March, 2020 Open access

Minister confirms that claimants infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) or required to self-isolate will be treated as having limited capability for work for both ESA and universal credit

Written answer advises there will be no requirement for medical evidence or to undergo a work capability assessment

The Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson has confirmed that claimants infected with COVID-19, or required to self-isolate, will be treated as having limited capability for work for both employment and support allowance (ESA) and universal credit.

Responding to a written question in the House of Commons yesterday about the process for claiming benefits for those affected by COVID-19, Mr Tomlinson said - 

'As part of the Government’s strategy to support people affected by the Covid-19 public health emergency, DWP is making a number of temporary changes to its benefit processes (and legislation) to ensure people who need financial help have access to the benefit system when they need it.

To avoid increasing the burden on health care professionals and the risk of further infection, we are removing the requirement for fit notes in relation to both ESA and universal credit claims relating to Covid-19 only.

Everyone that claims who is infected with Covid-19 or who is required to self-isolate will be treated as having Limited Capability for Work in ESA and universal credit without the requirement for medical evidence or undergoing a Work Capability Assessment.'

NB - Mr Tomlinson also confirmed that the seven waiting days at the start of an ESA claim would not apply in such circumstances.

Mr Tomlinson's written answer is available from parliament.uk