In 2019, none of us worried about social distancing or flattening the curve of a global pandemic. Unfortunately, the novel coronavirus dramatically changed our lives in a matter of months. Many of us are still coming to terms with our new reality.
In this article, our disability insurance lawyers at Bryant Legal Group discuss the coronavirus and explain when you can file a claim for either short-term or long-term disability benefits.
What We Know About the Novel Coronavirus
Information and guidance from healthcare professionals on how to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic is changing by the moment. Bryant Legal Group recommends continued vigilance in monitoring the latest developments on COVID-19.
As of now, we know the novel coronavirus has impacted people all over the world and infected more than 123 million people. The World Health Organization (WHO) designated it a global pandemic in March 2020, and our government has increasingly restricted daily activities to fight its spread.
Common symptoms of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, include:
- Dry cough
Less common symptoms include muscle aches, sore throat, nasal congestion, and diarrhea. In mild cases, you may struggle with symptoms for several weeks. Sometimes, your symptoms will initially seem mild but then worsen as the disease progresses.
Due to concerns that COVID-19 could overwhelm our healthcare system, our state and federal governments have restricted our daily activities. As of March 19, 2020, the governor of Illinois has restricted public gatherings and ordered the closure of schools, restaurants, and bars. Many businesses have asked their employees to work from home or have closed their operations altogether until the disease is better controlled.
Our disability insurance lawyers have a long history of working with physicians and other healthcare professionals. We know that medical providers are on the front line and are incredibly vulnerable to infection. We thank you for your ongoing commitment to our community’s health, and we hope you stay safe.
- Related Article: 5 FAQs About Private Disability Insurance Claims
Can I Get Short-Term Disability for COVID-19?
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and cannot work as a result, you may be eligible for short-term disability benefits. However, you must have a 1) diagnosis and 2) symptoms restricting your ability to perform your job. Social distancing alone will not make you eligible for disability insurance benefits.
What if I Can’t Get Tested for Coronavirus?
Currently, testing for COVID-19 is limited. However, you may still be eligible for short-term disability benefits without a clear-cut coronavirus diagnosis. To receive these benefits, you will need documentation from your physician; calling a hotline may not be enough.
If you’re experiencing symptoms that are consistent with the coronavirus, call your doctor or schedule a telehealth appointment. Your doctor will guide you through the diagnostic process. If your doctor places you under medical quarantine due to symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, but you cannot get tested, their medical records will provide essential evidence in your disability insurance claim.
RELATED: “Self-Reported” Symptoms: How to Fight Back With Medical Evidence
Can I Get Long-Term Disability for COVID-19?
Thankfully, most people eventually recover from the coronavirus and return to their normal lives. However, we’re still not sure how the coronavirus may impact long-term health.
According to a study performed by Northwestern doctors, “Eighty-five percent of patients reported four or more neurological symptoms, problems such as “brain fog” (or attention and memory problems), loss of taste or smell, headache and blurred vision. In addition, patients experienced non-neurologic symptoms, such as fatigue (85%) and depression or anxiety (47%).” The study, published March 23, 2021 in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, focused on 100 patients who sought care at Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s neuro-COVID-19 clinic between May and November 2020.
If you are unable to work for an extended period of time, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. This could be due to an extended hospitalization, complications from the virus, or other long-term effects.
Will My Long-Term Disability Benefits Continue if COVID-19 Prevents Me From Working the Minimum Hours Required?
Most employers and insurers will continue coverage until the end of the month. However, if the reduced schedule extends into the next month, coverage will continue until the end of that month, provided premiums continue to be paid.
Other Essential Resources During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Getting accurate, fact-based information about the coronavirus can be challenging. We recommend the following resources:
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- State of Illinois
- S. Federal Government
Governor Pritzker has announced that people without sick leave may be eligible for unemployment benefits if they cannot work due to COVID-19. Illinois is also working to provide additional assistance to small business owners and individuals.
Our government’s response is still evolving. To get the most recent information, please refer to Illinois’ and the Federal Government’s COVID-19 pages.
RELATED: Disability Insurance in a Nutshell
Bryant Legal Group: Supporting You During This Challenging Time
If you have questions about a COVID-19 disability insurance claim, contact Bryant Legal Group. We offer remote consultations, and we don’t anticipate any significant interruption in our work during the current healthcare crisis. We’re here for you and ready to fight.
To schedule your initial consultation with our team, call us at 312-561-3010 or complete our online contact form.