DISCLAIMER: This post is being written in August 2021 in the middle of the Delta variant surge of COVID- 19 coronavirus cases. New medical, political and regulatory information about this global pandemic is being released on almost a weekly basis so this post may not be entirely up-to-date.
Please call us at (855) 282-7243 to speak with an attorney for a free, confidential consultation about the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and your Social Security disability claim.
Is long COVID a disability?
In late July 2021, the Biden Administration released guidelines allowing people with long haul or long COVID to qualify as disabled and be afforded special accommodations under the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) to continue to try to work.
Biden says long-term effects of covid-19 can be considered a disability under federal civil rights laws
COVID-19 Long-Haulers May Be Entitled to ADA Job Protections
ADA likely to protect COVID long-haulers, Biden says
Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557
While many individuals fully recover from COVID, others experience debilitating symptoms that last long after first developing COVID-19 (long COVID), including extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, chest pain tightness, and brain fog.
The guidelines issued by the Biden administration make clear that long COVID is not automatically a disability and that an “individualized assessment” is required to determine whether a person’s long-term symptoms “substantially limits a major life activity.”
What if I cannot return to my job because of my long COVID symptoms?
Some people are able to return to work with long COVID symptoms and the Biden Administration’s efforts to include long COVID victims under the ADA’s protections is helpful.
But what if your long COVID symptoms are too severe to allow you to keep working?
The answer is you can file a disability claim with the Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov) and, with our help here at Geraty Holub and MacQueen, we can assist you in obtaining SSA disability benefits while you are unable to work due to your long COVID symptoms.
I am unable to continue working due to my long COVID and I filed a disability claim with SSA, how do I prove my case?
Social Security has a very strict set of regulations with determine your eligibility for a disability claim. In short, SSA defines “disability” as the following:
- The basic definition of “disability” is set forth statutorily as:
- the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months; 42 USC §423(d), § §1382c(a)(3)
- an individual shall be determined to be under a disability only if his physical or mental impairment(s) are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience engage in any other kind of substantial work which exists in the national economy, i.e. work which exists in significant numbers in the region where such individual lives or in several regions of the country. Id.
This means that you have to prove that your long COVID symptoms are expected to keep you out of work for at least 12 months in a row, keep you from doing any of your past work and also prevent you from doing any easy full time work SSA can find for you based on their regulatory defined notion of “work”.
Okay, but what is needed to show Social Security that I can’t work and prove my disability claim?
The most important evidence in your long COVID disability claim (or any SSA disability claim) is the objective medical findings from your treating physicians. SSA looks to the written findings of your treating doctors to support your allegations in your disability claim. For example, if you have joint or muscle pain and/or weakness in your arms and legs, your doctor should examine you and confirm in her medical records that you have pain and weakness in the parts of your body that you told her about.
Complaints of fatigue, shortness of breath, headaches, difficulty thinking or concentrating are harder for doctors to objectively quantify but you should tell your doctors about your symptoms at every visit to ensure these symptoms are regularly being documented in your medical records.
We are here to help you with your SSDI or SSI Disability claim
I’m sure you have additional questions about your long COVID disability claim. The coronavirus pandemic is a rapid-evolving health crisis. If you’re unable to work due to long COVID-19 symptoms, you need a skilled Social Security disability attorney from Geraty, Holub and MacQueen to fight for you.
Contact us today at (855) 282-7243 to schedule a free initial consultation to see if we can help you. There’s no fee unless we win. It’s about dignity.