Long COVID and disability benefits

This information applies to England and Wales.

If you have long COVID, you may be able to claim benefits. If you are already claiming benefits, you may be entitled to an increased amount.

To receive some benefits, you will need to describe how your condition affects you. You do not need a medical diagnosis to claim benefits, but medical evidence can help.

Check the assessment criteria for a benefit before you apply.

How to apply

Contact the service for the benefit you would like to claim:

You will receive a form to fill in.

Help completing benefit claim forms

Evidence of long COVID

You should send supporting evidence with your application. It is best to send copies of medical evidence. This should explain the difficulties you have because of your condition.

Evidence could be:

  • a statement from your GP
  • a letter from a long COVID clinic
  • evidence of any treatment you are getting

If you are applying for ESA or Universal Credit, you will need a fit note from your GP.

You can also send other evidence. This could include:

  • a statement from a social worker
  • a social care plan

How your symptoms affect you

The ‘My Long COVID Needs assessment tool’ can help you think about your symptoms and how they affect you. This can help when speaking to your GP.

My Long COVID Needs assessment tool

If your GP says they cannot help

You could:

  • write to ask for your medical records, a right you have Under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 2018
  • change GP (NHS.UK)

Accessing personal health records (Parliament.UK)

Mental health and benefits

The benefit process can be stressful. There are things you can do if it’s affecting your mental health. These can include:

  • accessing mental health support
  • talking to a mental health charity about how you are feeling
  • talking to other disabled people on our online community

Support if claiming benefits affects your mental health

If your mental health means you find it hard to work or do daily tasks, you could claim benefits. These will depend on the criteria, but can include depression or anxiety.

Benefits and mental health

Benefits if you are unable to work


Sick pay

You can apply for New Style Employment Allowance (ESA) up to 3 months before your Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) ends.

Applying in advance can reduce the delay when you switch to ESA. This is usually less than SSP. You cannot receive SSP and ESA at the same time.

You can claim Universal Credit while you are on sick pay. But the SSP will count as income. This may reduce the amount of Universal Credit you receive.

Sick leave and sick pay

If you are already receiving benefits or social care

If you receive benefits or care, it is important to tell people when your life changes.


You should report a change in circumstances to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). For example, if:

  • you have new symptoms from long COVID
  • long COVID has made your existing condition worse
  • you have reduced your working hours or stopped working

Report a change in circumstances (GOV.UK)

You should send evidence of any changes in your condition. Keep copies. The DWP might reassess you. This could result in your benefits going up, down or staying the same.

Benefits and other ways of funding the extra costs of being disabled

Social care

You can ask your local authority for another needs assessment. Ask for an assessment if your condition has changed and you need more social care support.

Getting a social care needs assessment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

If you have difficulty with everyday tasks or mobility, you can claim disability benefits.

To claim Personal Independence Payment (PIP), all the following must apply:

  • you are over 16 and have not yet reached State Pension Age
  • you have met the assessment criteria for 3 months
  • you expect to meet the criteria for at least another 9 months

You can still receive PIP if you are working or receiving Statutory Sick Pay.

PIP is not affected by your income or savings.

Assessments and criteria

The assessment criteria for PIP claims are for how your condition affects your life. The PIP claims form asks if you can do everyday activities. For example:

  • preparing food
  • eating food
  • washing and bathing
  • using the toilet

For each activity, there are PIP descriptors that you would need to meet. You are more likely to be able to claim PIP if you have medical evidence that shows you meet the criteria.

Completing your PIP claims form

Preparing for PIP assessment

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) and Universal Credit

If you claim ESA, you will have a Work Capability Assessment.

If you claim Universal Credit and your condition affects your ability to work, ask for a Work Capability Assessment.

After the assessment, the DWP will decide if you have to:

  • look for work
  • prepare for work, also called “work-related activity”

If the DWP decides that you do not have to prepare for work, this will increase the amount of money you receive.

Work Capability Assessment for ESA or Universal Credit

Disability Living Allowance (DLA)

You can claim DLA if your child:

  • is under 16 (people 16 or over might be eligible for Personal Independence Payment instead)
  • needs more care than a non-disabled child of the same age

Your child may also be eligible for the mobility component of DLA if they:

  • cannot walk
  • or need supervision outdoors

Disability Living Allowance

Attendance Allowance

Attendance Allowance is a benefit for people over State Pension age who need support with personal care. For example:

  • getting dressed
  • going to the toilet
  • eating

You can claim Attendance Allowance if you:

  • are over State Pension age
  • have needed specific support for 6 months
  • need frequent support through the day, night or both

Attendance Allowance

Carer’s Allowance

A carer may be eligible for Carer’s Allowance if they are caring for a disabled person and:

  • the disabled person receives a disability benefit, like AA, PIP or DLA
  • the carer is supporting the disabled person for 35 hours a week or more

Find out if the disabled person is receiving Severe Disability Premium. A disabled person cannot receive Severe Disability Premium (SDP) if their carer is also receiving Carer’s Allowance.

Read more about Carer’s Allowance.

Appeal a benefits decision

If you disagree with the DWP decision about your benefit claim, you can appeal it. It is a good idea to get advice.

Appealing a benefits decision

Other financial help

If you are struggling to pay for food or bills, you may be able to get help.

Free food and food banks

Help with your energy bills

Free NHS dental care

Support for your condition

If you need practical support for your condition, you should ask your local authority for a social care needs assessment.

How to get social care services


There may be grants available depending on your circumstances.

Finding and applying for grants


When you claim benefits, there may be other help you can get.

Benefits and other ways of funding the extra costs of being disabled

Last reviewed by Scope on: 26/10/2023

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