COVID-19 long-haulers is a term used to describe people who continue to have certain coronavirus symptoms, including fatigue and brain fog, months after the disease subsides. The condition is referred to as “long COVID” and can affect a person’s ability to work and earn a living.
For this reason, many COVID-19 long-haulers are seeking disability benefits, but not all of them get their applications approved by the Social Security Administration or private disability insurance providers.
Many disability applications filed by COVID-19 long-haulers are denied because the applicants do not understand what they need to prove to obtain disability benefits.
Why COVID-19 Long-Haulers Cannot Hold Their Jobs
Those who experience long COVID-19 symptoms following a mild or acute bout of the virus infection may have a hard time holding their job for months or years.
Some of the most frequently occurring long COVID symptoms include:
Shortness of breath
According to WebMD, about a third of all COVID-19 survivors experience long-haul symptoms.
COVID-19 long-haulers end up reducing work hours, delegating duties to co-workers or freelancers, or even quitting their employment altogether due to the debilitating symptoms of long COVID.
Many of those who make the decision to stop working altogether are seeking disability benefits through the Social Security Administration (SSA) or private disability insurance providers.
However, as the condition requires further research, the SSA and private insurers often deny disability applications filed by COVID-19 long-haulers.
What Do COVID-19 Long-Haulers Need to Prove to Get Disability Benefits?
One of the biggest challenges of getting a disability application approved when you have “long COVID” symptoms is proving a disabling condition. After all, many long-haulers do not have sufficient laboratory proof of disability to obtain disability benefits.
Furthermore, many of the long COVID symptoms, including fatigue and brain fog, are subjective, not to mention that many long-haulers lack sufficient mental capacity to navigate the application process. For this reason, many long-haulers hire attorneys to help them pursue disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration has strict requirements for disability benefits. Some of them include proving that:
Your condition is severe
Your condition is on the list of disabling conditions
You cannot do the work you did previously
Many long-haulers are applying for long-term disability benefits through the SSA. However, short-term disability benefits are also available in some states.
Another option is to seek disability benefits through private disability insurance. While the SSA offers a little more than $3,000 per month in maximum Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits, many private disability insurance providers cover up to 60% of the applicant’s base salary.
Many COVID-19 Long-Haulers’ Disability Applications Are Denied
Since COVID-19 long-haulers are the newest group of applicants to request disability coverage from the federal government, many applications are being denied because they do not meet the eligibility requirements.
Lawmakers, medical experts, and long-haulers are calling on the SSA to look into the issue and update its policies or eligibility requirements. Researchers are currently trying to evaluate long COVID symptoms and determine which symptoms are debilitating.
What do you think? Should Social Security disability and insurance policies be changed to make it easier for Covid survivors to obtain benefits?