Long covid or 'post covid-19 syndrome' is a term to describe the effects of covid-19 that continue for weeks or months beyond the initial illness.
A wide range of different symptoms are associated with 'long covid'. These include: fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, chest pains, joint or muscle pain, cognitive impairment ('brain fog') and anxiety and depression.
NAHT has become concerned that there are currently insufficient provisions to support members who may need to submit a request for ill-health retirement due to 'long covid.' This is because 'long covid' is a new and emerging condition, and it is therefore harder to make a judgment that incapacity will be permanent under the scheme regulations.
NAHT is therefore working with others in the sector, through our involvement with the Teachers' Pensions Scheme Advisory Board, to press the Department for Education to scope out changes to teachers' ill-health provision in order to respond better to the health impact of the coronavirus pandemic on teachers and leaders.
The impact of this in relation to the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) is less acute as the LGPS operates a three-tier ill-health retirement system where members are able to access a short-term ill-health retirement pension (paid for no longer than three years) where they are too ill to undertake gainful employment but are likely to recover within three years of leaving service. This means that members with long-covid may be able to access this level of pension more easily which would allow them longer to recover before needing to seek new employment.
First published 22 July 2021