Long COVID (or post COVID-19) is a set of persistent, long-term symptoms that affects individuals who have recovered from an initial COVID-19 infection. Around 23 million Americans are battling long COVID, many of whom are now legally disabled.
Unfortunately, this has raised confusion and a debate as to whether affected persons are entitled to typical Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. This post will examine the legal status of long COVID as a disability, and how it works within the context of SSD law. It will also reflect how an SSD lawyer can make you almost three times more likely to get monthly benefits.
What is long COVID?
People with long COVID, also known as Long Haulers, experience physical or psychological symptoms weeks or months after getting COVID-19:
- General symptoms: fever, fatigue
- Digestive symptoms: diarrhea, stomach pain
- Neurological symptoms: brain fog, headache, sleep problems, depression, anxiety
- Respiratory and heart symptoms: shortness of breath, cough, chest pain, heart palpitations
- Other symptoms: muscle pain, rashes, multi-organ effects
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), long COVID conditions may not affect everyone the same way. And for some people, the symptoms may last months, and potentially years, after COVID-19 illness and may sometimes result in disability.
As per the latest data by the Household Pulse Survey, more than 40 percent of adults in the United States reported having COVID-19 in the past, and nearly 19 percent of those are currently still having symptoms of long COVID.
What U.S. law says about long COVID and SSD benefits
Long COVID is now recognized as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. According to CDC, disabled long COVID people are entitled to the same protections from discrimination as any other disability.
To qualify for federal disability programs — Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) — you must prove you’re unable to perform work and have health conditions that last for at least one year or result in death. And expert legal representation plays a prominent role in understanding your legal rights in the claims process.
Are long COVID sufferers entitled to SSD benefits?
According to a recent analysis published by the Brookings Institution, long-COVID disabilities and workplace absences could account for 15 percent of the 10.6 million unfilled jobs in the United States.
Right now, we’re observing insurance companies and government agencies approaching long COVID claims with a lot of caution and skepticism, with hard-to-measure symptoms like mental fogginess and fatigue.
Here are some of the pain areas of long COVID sufferers filing for SSD benefits:
- Long and complicated claims process: SSDI application process can take up to five months, and there is a five-month waiting period before benefits start flowing;
- Cumbersome initial disability application, and communication with Social Security Administration (SSA);
- High financial burden;
- High chances of claim rejection.
How can an SSD lawyer help victims recoup benefits?
Here are some of the ways an expert SSD attorney can help you claim your long COVID disability benefits:
- Arranging medical documents and other convincing evidence for filing SSD benefits;
- Understanding SSA’s complex technical language and cumbersome claim filing process;
- Maximizing your monthly benefit and lump-sum, back-pay amounts;
- Exploring workplace disability benefits: workplace accommodations, securing time off under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA);
- Navigating the ever-changing rules policies for SSD and SSDI, and increasing your chances of benefit approval.
If you’re looking for the best lawyers who specialize in social security disability law, contact LegalASAP today. You can also take our free evaluation to see if you qualify and get the legal representation you need.