Saturday 10 December 2022

Over half of people with Long Covid for two years are declared unfit to work


A majority of people with Long Covid who are registered with state benefits agency UWV have been so disabled by the virus they are no longer fit for work.

Employees who have been ill for two years and unable to work or work full time are eligible for disability benefits based on an evaluation by the UWV, once their sick pay entitlement expires.

Some 85% of workers who suffered from the long-term effects of a Covid infection two years ago are now receiving disability benefits. Over half of this group, some 62%, can no longer work at all.

In 2020 and 2021 the agency evaluated 139 people with Long Covid but in the first five months of 2022 that number has risen to 736.

The figures reflect what our doctors see in their surgeries, UWV medical advisor Herman Kroneman said.

‘A prognosis is often tricky. There is much we don’t know about how Long Covid develops. That means we don’t know if the disability will continue, and many people don’t want benefits but go back to work,’ he said. ‘We will evaluate them again. But there are people who are completely unable to continue working and for whom benefits are the only solution.’

According to an estimate by public health institute RIVM one in five people experience Covid-related health problems, such as pain, fatigue and difficulty breathing, in the first four to five weeks after they have tested positive. That number falls after three months or more.

The institute is currently investigating the long term effects of Covid and is asking people to take part in the research. The health ministry has also set up C-support, an organisation which helps people with Long Covid navigate problems related to (mental) health and work and income.

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