Plan for Long Covid needed from Social Protection says Sherlock
Labour Spokesperson on Social Protection, Seán Sherlock TD, today urged the Minister for Social Protection to make plans now to deal with the impacts of Long Covid by adapting the enhanced illness benefit scheme to take account of their needs inclusive of the fuel allowance payment.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“We are seeing a growing phenomenon in our constituency offices of people who are feeling the effects of long Covid. While the science regarding measuring the effects of Long Covid might not be up-to-date, the phenomenon of Long Covid and its effect on people is widely accepted. There is sufficient evidence base in that regard.
“People are being hit with persistent fatigue, and other effects that are unrelated to the severity of the initial infection, including general ill-health and breathlessness, and other complications.
“The enhanced illness benefit is the current payment that meets the needs of people hit by long Covid. I asked that the Minister today to undertake a budgetary analysis of people who are suffering the effects of Long Covid and design a payment that would include provision for a fuel allowance to meet the needs of households where there are people who had been working but are no longer able to work due to the long-term physical effects of Covid.
“I am asking the Minister to look afresh at measuring the long-term impact of long Covid and to examine if additional supports can be put into that budgetary line, including a potential provision for fuel allowance payments where there is a fuel poverty marker in a given household. We must ensure that there are adequate supports in place to ensure that families are not plunged further into fuel poverty.
“There is so much we still don’t know about this disease and it’s long term impact, but our social protection system must be adapted to take account of the needs of the growing number of people hit by long Covid.”