In the early days of COVID, no one believed people who claimed they experienced lasting symptoms from the virus.
But as time passed, researchers amassed evidence that these long-haulers indeed suffered ongoing adverse effects caused by a past COVID infection.
The next hurdle for these patients is obtaining long-COVID disability benefits when their symptoms prevent them from doing their job.
If you are a Missourian presenting this novel claim to the Social Security Administration (SSA), your best chance for success is to obtain the assistance of an experienced attorney.
What is Long COVID?
Long COVID or post-COVID is challenging to diagnose because there is no definitive test for it.
But many people who had COVID continue to suffer debilitating symptoms months or even years after contracting the virus.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some of the most commonly reported long-COVID symptoms are:
- Respiratory and heart symptoms,
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath,
- Chest pain,
- Fast-beating or pounding heart,
- Difficulty thinking or concentrating (“brain fog”),
- Sleep problems,
- Dizziness upon standing,
- Depression or anxiety,
- Stomach pain, and
- Joint or muscle pain.
Though most people improve eventually, some individuals end up with lasting disabilities.
Is Long COVID a Disability?
The SSA pays disability benefits to people who cannot work because of a medical condition that they expect will last at least a year or will result in death.
It is important to note that the SSA not only looks at whether you can do any of your previous jobs, but whether you can do some other work instead.
Because long-COVID is relatively new and ill-defined, it is difficult to predict how long symptoms will last and how severely they will impact a person’s ability to work in the future.
Many routine diagnostic tests also come back normal, making it difficult to quantify the symptoms.
As a result, much like with chronic fatigue syndrome, proving you are entitled to benefits can be an uphill battle.
That is why it is particularly crucial to seek the guidance of an experienced social security disability attorney before filing your application or appeal.
How to Apply for Long COVID Disability
You can apply over the phone, in person, or online.
To be eligible for long-COVID disability benefits, you must have worked long enough and recently enough to qualify and have paid Social Security taxes on your earnings.
The minimum work requirements vary by age.
You will need significant medical documentation of your condition as well as various forms of evidence showing that you cannot sustain employment.
The SSA’s Checklist for Online Adult Disability Application can help you determine what information you need.
Can You Get Disability for Long-COVID?
The SSA has not released statistics on the number of successful long-COVID disability claims.
But because the application process can take many months, you should apply now.
Even if the SSA grants your application today, you will not receive your first long-COVID disability payment for about six months.
Though COVID is relatively new, the Cottrell Law Office has over 30 years of experience and knows how to navigate the Social Security Disability Insurance process.
Contact us today for a free consultation.