Constant fatigue, difficulty breathing, and trouble thinking. These are among the several symptoms people have experienced sometimes months after first contracting covid-19.
Often referred to as “long covid,” the not-well-understood condition can be debilitating. For those who are no longer able to work, it’s led many to question whether they are entitled to Social Security disability (SSD).
The answer is still unclear. The Social Security Administration (SSA), which oversees Social Security disability claims, hasn’t issued formal guidance on long covid. This leaves people who have become disabled by the illness in a turbulent place, legally speaking.
Based on SSA’s historic handling of other symptomatically unclear illnesses, such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, there may be a path for people with long covid to seek Social Security disability for COVID.
Social Security disability, or SSD, is designed for people who suffer from mental or physical conditions that have either lasted or are expected to last at least 12 months. Like any SSD claim, the key to a successful claim revolves heavily on following the strict criteria and process of applying for benefits.
Among them include requirements that a person is seeking ongoing treatment for their condition. For covid long-haulers –– the informal term for people who have lingering symptoms of the illness –– the key to winning their cases requires they consistently seek treatment even if it seems unnecessary or if doctors tell them that conditions won’t improve.
Because covid and its long-term effects are still new, no specific treatments have been developed. That leaves long-haulers in a tricky situation when applying for SSD benefits for COVID-19 disability because claimants must be in active treatment.
Symptoms of long covid have a range of ailments that worsen with physical or mental activity after a person first contracts covid-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These symptoms can last weeks or even months. According to the CDC, the symptoms of long covid include several of the following:
For people whose lives have been upended due to long covid, establishing a record of symptoms with a doctor early and often is crucial for a successful SSD claim. Generally speaking, eligibility for Social Security disability is premised on the severity and duration of a person’s conditions.
For example, if a person has difficulty breathing after light physical activity or suffers from migraines, letting a doctor know the frequency and severity are vital for a successful SSD claim. These visits can also help establish what the recovery process may look like.
One of the realities of the SSA’s disability adjudication system is that patients are required to seek sometimes pointless medical treatment to win disability claims.
If you or a family member suffered from covid-19 and recovered, Social Security disability benefits likely won’t be an option. Other benefits such as workers’ compensation or disability insurance may be available, however.
But for those dealing with the long-term impacts of covid-19, you may be eligible for SSD benefits. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation if you have experienced lasting symptoms of covid-19 or any disability.
At Khattar Law, PC, Our experienced and compassionate attorneys can assist you during this difficult time to help you collect the maximum benefits you qualify for.