Long COVID Disability Benefits: 7 Things You Need to Know
If you or a loved one has had COVID, your symptoms may have long-term effects that interfere with everyday life, even months after your last positive test. This condition, known as long COVID, can affect anyone who has had COVID during the pandemic, even those who initially only experienced mild symptoms.
Under new HHS guidelines, long COVID is now a condition covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and other protections . But despite this, you may still encounter significant obstacles and frustrations when filing a long-term disability claim.
By hiring a long-term disability attorney at Bryant Legal Group, you can increase your claim’s chances of success and remove the burden of the complicated claims process from you and your loved ones. We understand the claims process and will fight for your rights if the insurance company questions your claim.
In this article, we will highlight a few critical pieces of information that those suffering from long COVID need to know before filing a long term disability claim.
1. Do I Have Long COVID? Signs and Symptoms
Long COVID is much more common than most people think. According to a recent study, it affects at least 31% of COVID victims to some degree. These COVID long haulers suffer one or more effects at least 30 days after their initial COVID 19 diagnosis.
If you or a loved one experience any of these common symptoms four or more weeks after initial infection, you may be suffering from long COVID:
- Tiredness or extreme fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking, also known as brain fog
- Joint or muscle pain
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Dizziness upon standing
- Heart palpitations
- Chest pain
- Mild cognitive impairment
- Depression or anxiety
- Loss of taste or smell
2. Certain Factors May Increase Your Likelihood of Developing Long COVID
According to a recent study, there are four factors that may increase your likelihood of suffering from long COVID:
- Your viral load, or how much coronavirus RNA is in your blood early in your infection.
- Whether you have certain autoantibodies that mistakenly attack tissue in the body, like those associated with lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus, a virus that infects many when they are young.
- The presence of pre-existing conditions, specifically Type 2 diabetes, can significantly increase your risk.
3. Long COVID Is Now Considered a Disability Under the Americans With Disabilities Act
According to a recent guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Joe Biden, long COVID is now recognized as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This means that both the federal government and local governments must recognize long COVID as a disability and provide sufferers the same protections as any other disability.
However, not all cases of long COVID are considered a disability. Each case must be individually assessed to determine if it matches the ADA’s disability criteria. For a case of long COVID to qualify for long-term disability insurance benefits, you must show that your symptoms substantially limit your ability to perform one or more major life events (such as standing, sitting, or walking), or have caused a mental or physical impairment. This impairment could be anything from lingering mental illness to heart damage, but it must be proven to be linked to long COVID.
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4. The Social Security Administration Is Approving Long COVID-Related Claims for Social Security Disability Benefits
COVID long haulers might also be eligible for disability benefits through Social Security (SSDI or SSI) if their disability is expected to prevent them from working for at least a year or result in death. However, the process to receive these benefits can be long and complicated and can result in a high financial burden while you wait for benefits to finally kick in. The application process for SSDI can take up to five months, and there is a five-month required waiting period before benefits to start. So, it is important to assess your claim carefully before deciding how you choose to file.
Please note that Bryant Legal Group does not handle stand-alone Social Security disability claims. If you only need assistance with an SSDI or SSI claim, we can refer you to a qualified attorney.
5. Insurance Companies Are Still Wary of Long COVID Disability Claims
If you have a short-term or long-term disability policy, you might be eligible for disability insurance benefits due to long COVID. You will have to show that you meet your insurance policy’s definition of disability.
- Own occupation: You cannot perform your job due to long COVID and your other health conditions.
- Any occupation: Your long COVID symptoms and other health conditions make it impossible to do any type of work.
Typically, you must have strong medical evidence, including diagnostic testing, to win a short-term or long-term disability claim.
Long COVID is a evolving diagnosis, and we do not understand it very well yet. We don’t have diagnostic tests that can definitively prove that you have long COVID– doctors instead rely on your medical history and symptoms.
Unfortunately, insurance companies often deny claims for hard-to-understand or evolving diagnoses. They might try to argue that your subjective or self-reported symptoms are exaggerated, or they might try to limit your benefits using fine print or loopholes in your policy.
6. Long COVID Can Ebb and Flow
The symptoms of long COVID are not always consistent, which makes filing and maintaining a long-term disability claim complicated. Claimants are often denied disability benefits because their long COVID symptoms can change from mild to debilitating over time. Insurance providers tend to be skeptical of disabilities that ebb and flow, like IBS, MS, or even HIV. So, it is important that COVID 19 long haulers prepare themselves for a fight when they choose to file.
7. Hiring an Experienced Disability Attorney Can Increase Your Claim’s Chances of Success
When it comes to long-term disability claims, the details of filing and your chances of success can depend on a number of complex factors. An experienced disability attorney has the knowledge and skills to navigate these claims more easily so you can focus on healing.
If you are suffering from long COVID, the last thing you should be worried about is filing an insurance claim. Hiring a disability attorney will not only increase your chances of getting approved but also decrease the burden on you and your loved ones as well.
- Related Post: Can I Get Long-Term Disability Due to Coronavirus?
Bryant Legal Group: Experienced Long Term Disability Attorneys in Chicago, Illinois
At Bryant Legal Group, we know that when you file a long-term disability claim, you cannot afford to make any mistakes. That is why we use our experience to help you and your loved ones avoid potential pitfalls and fight back against unjust claim denials from the insurance company. Our team of experienced long-term disability insurance attorneys are ready and available to help you file your claim, communicate with your insurance company, and bring you peace of mind.