The COVID-19 pandemic has reached nearly every corner of the world, and its effects on our daily lives have been far-reaching. While it may feel like the journey is coming to an end for most of us, many individuals are still dealing with the long-term impacts of this virus. Of the American adults who have reported testing positive for COVID, nearly 19% of this population are still fighting long-term symptoms.
As a disability representative, I’m often asked how we consider long COVID cases when it comes to disability claims.
What to Know About Long COVID
At this point in time, many of us have already experienced some form of COVID–from cold-like symptoms to serious health complications. For many people, this has severely impacted their ability to find and keep jobs. This virus can last anywhere from days or months or even years. In situations when a person’s immune system is compromised for long periods of time, this can put them at risk of advanced or debilitating symptoms.
Some of the long-term symptoms of COVID include:
- Chest pain
- Pounding heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing and/or lung scarring
- Difficulting thinking or concentrating
- Joint or muscle pain
- Severe depression or anxiety
- Compromised immune system
It’s also essential that we consider the psychological impact of long-COVID; for many, it can lead to feelings of fear around social situations, ongoing anxiety about their health, depression from their illness, and other worries that can be hard to cope with. Some have even experienced trauma after almost dying from it. All these effects impact on their ability to work, which could potentially increase their chances of being granted disability.
Can COVID Be Bad Enough to Earn Disability Benefits?
Social Security has issued an emergency ruling with guidance on long covid cases. While there may not be an exact Listing of Impairment for long-COVID, but it can still be a factor in qualifying for disability benefits. The emergency ruling focuses on three areas of concern:
- The effects of long-COVID itself
- Any existing conditions that were made more problematic after contracting COVID
- If you developed any new conditions that were caused by the virus
Let’s take a look at two examples.
#1. Suppose someone has congestive heart failure and, as a result of long-COVID, they are having trouble breathing and constant exhaustion. In this case, the symptoms and the difficulties caused by the virus must be taken into account, as well as how they affected this person’s pre-existing heart failure. For instance, poor lung capacity can strain the heart more and make the condition worse. While congestive heart failure was an existing condition, it was made worse by the virus.
#2. One of the symptoms of COVID is an increase in fatigue. Constant fatigue can stop someone from doing much physical activity, and it can lead to swelling in their lower body parts. This could result in new issues such as a heart attack or stroke, as well as skin ulcers and cellulitis due to the swelling. In this example, the person may have had no prior health issues, but now struggles to maintain their daily living and could be at risk for dangerous symptoms.
It is important to note the SSA does not approve or deny cases based on diagnoses, but rather on the limitations posed by those conditions.
Here’s How Our Disability Representative Can Help!
Discussing long-COVID with a disability representative is wise to help you explain how the effects limit your ability to work and could lead to approval or denial. Long term COVIDshould never be ignored since it has such a big impact on someone’s employment.
As a local representative, our disability advocate will know your case from start to finish. We’ll be involved every step of the way, and you’ll speak to the same person every time.
Whether you’ve already begun the application process or are just getting started, we encourage you to schedule a FREE consultation to help determine the best strategy for your case 🤗 Our mission is to make your case the easiest one to approve so you can focus on your health and the things that matter.
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