Do Long Covid Patients Now Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?
Covid-19 has sure changed the lives of everyone in the country in the past couple of years. While every day more people get the Covid vaccinations, there are now various strains of Covid that are still making their way through the population. The majority of people seem to get over their symptoms fairly quickly after a couple of weeks. However, others are experiencing Covid conditions that last months, have new, recurring, or ongoing symptoms.
According to recent research from the Brookings Institution, an estimated 2 million to 4 million Americans ages 18 to 65 are out of work due to long term Covid illnesses.
Those with these long-haul or longer term Covid effects are now being recognized into a category of their own. “Long Covid,” or post-Covid conditions, has now been termed an certified disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA); Sections 504 & 1557.
A person with long Covid is therefore defined with a disability if the person’s condition or any of its symptoms is a “physical or mental” impairment that “substantially limits” one or more major life activities. So yes! Long Covid patients now qualify for Social Security Disability.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) has flagged about 44,000 disability claims that contain some mention of Covid-19, though that is not necessarily the primary reason for those applications. That represents just about 1% of disability applications received since the agency started tracking those claims.
Be Prepared for a Lengthy Application process
Due to the staffing shortages due to the Pandemic, Social Security Disability benefits application wait times have been soaring. All time high decision wait times reached 6.6 months in August, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. These patients have become in desperate need of income if their jobs have stopped paying due to their lack of ability to be at work, forcing them to take unpaid leave.
On top of long application processing times, the actual process itself is challenging. An individual must prove their diagnosis by having specialists evaluate and determine their disability and functional limitations. Cases with persons who have experiences severe symptoms are definitely having a higher approval success rate.
T.J. Geist, principal advocate at Allsup, explains “the ones that are more difficult continue to be those cases that have more invisible long-term symptoms, like fatigue, brain fog, depression,” Geist said. “And unfortunately, they’re having more difficulty getting approved,” he added.
Long COVID Resources
The Office for Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has the following page on civil rights and COVID-19: https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-providers/civil-rights-covid19/index.html.
If you believe that an entity covered by HHS civil rights laws has violated your rights protected under these authorities, you may file a complaint at https://www.hhs.gov/ocr/complaints/index.html.
Contact Lowery Law Group at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (843) 991-0733. There is no fee for a free consultation regarding your claim. Lowery Law Group is experienced in handling cases in South Carolina as well as Georgia.