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Unemployed more likely to have long Covid

·3-min read
Unemployed more likely to have long Covid
Unemployed more likely to have long Covid

Long Covid is more common among the unemployed than people with a job, new Government figures have revealed.

The Office for National Statistics data shows 3.5pc of the unemployed said they had long Covid symptoms in 2022 – a higher rate than in students, workers and the retired.

Around 5pc of the unemployed who were not looking for work said they were suffering from the condition.

According to the report, which marks the first time the ONS has collected data on long Covid, 1.8 million people in the UK claim to have suffered from symptoms, equivalent to 2.8pc of the population.

Long Covid symptoms were found to have adversely affected the day-to-day activities of 1.3 million people, with 21pc claiming their ability to undertake their day-to-day activities had been "limited a lot".

The proportion of those not out of work claiming to suffer from long Covid was higher than for others, with 3.3pc of workers reporting symptoms, 2.9pc of retirees and 1.7pc of students.

The figures also suggest the proportion of those out of work but not looking for a job, who said they had suffered symptoms of long Covid, had more than doubled over the past year, from 2.4pc in August last year to 5pc last month.

A leading think tank estimates long Covid has left thousands of people out of work.

As many as one in 10 of the 2 million people with long Covid have taken time out of work, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies, with 110,000 missing from their jobs at any given moment.

Fatigue continues to be the most common symptom, experienced by roughly half of those with self-reported long Covid, followed by shortness of breath, loss of smell and muscle ache.

NHS chiefs have pledged an extra £90m to tackle long Covid, with plans aiming to reduce the need for a patient to return to their GP for multiple different symptoms.

Patients with persistent and severe signs of the condition have been promised checks within six weeks under the plans.

The NHS Long Covid Action plan promised to speed up specialist assessment at 90 clinics across the country, following warnings from leaders that services are already “swamped by demand”

The ONS said the increase in the prevalence of self-reported long Covid among retired people and those not in and not looking for paid work "may be driven by people already in these groups developing long Covid symptoms, or people with long Covid moving into these groups from other employment status categories".

Long Covid sufferers in employment may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit.

Those seeking work can claim Employment and Support Allowance of up to £117.60 a week, or a weekly Personal Independence Payment of up to £156.90 if they have difficulty getting around because of their condition.

An estimated 1.55 million people in the UK claim unemployment benefit as of June 2022, 20,000 less than the month before but 317,500 more than in March 2020.

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