COVID-19 PTSD Depression and Long Term Disability
In January, many people read about the dangers posed by something called the “coronavirus” happening in China and for some it caused an immediate panic, a fear or sadness that has just gotten more pervasive. In February, more people started to fear about their work and the mounting depression and anxiety began to get worse. Then the economy showed signs of really collapsing. Finally, in March of 2020 most were locked down in their apartments or homes and days later were told they were being let go from their job because of the “shelter in place” orders. The question is, do you file for unemployment or can you make a short or long-term disability claim?
Millions of Americans are suffering, or will suffer, from some form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as a result of the fallout of COVID-19. Some individuals are particularly vulnerable to PTSD and depression at this time, including first responders such as doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, police officers, firefighters, ambulance technicians and others in the medical field. However, none of us are immune from the impact of this disease as COVID-19 is taking lives no matter your age bracket or health conditions. Food workers in grocery stores, fast food workers, chefs, delivery drivers and all those heroes working at essential businesses can also be seriously impacted.
People who have suffered PTSD and/or depression may be eligible to make a current short-term disability or even long-term disability claim. The reality is that workers all across America were impacted by this outbreak months ago when the stress, anxiety, fear and depression over this killer virus first cropped up. Stories of the death counts in China, the fear of the spread into other parts of Asia and then the death tolls in parts of Western Europe all became very real.
Now, in this era when unemployment is reaching Great Depression era levels, knowing the timeline of your PTSD/depression symptoms is massively important. Filing for unemployment requires people to be “be ready, willing, able, available, and actively ready to seek work.” However, people are legitimately unable to work in many instances because the PTSD and depression they are suffering from is unbearable. Some worked with great depression literally walking through their day-to-day duties in a fog. Many workers who are now laid off can barely get out of bed in the morning, and their issues began several months ago. Waiters were fearing a shut down back in February, restauranteurs were depressed about decreased revenue weeks before shelter in place orders, and many office workers were overwhelmed about the health of themselves and family back in January.
In fact, there may be millions of people who qualify for short or long-term disability because they have PTSD and/or crippling depression. We as a nation pride ourselves in “soldering on” but that is truly not an option for so many who can never go back to the world they knew.
This is a time to reach out to telemedicine therapists, PHD’s or a psychiatry visit. Work on biofeedback, meditation and whatever coping strategies the therapist or medical professional can provide. If medication is recommended now is not the time to go without as suicidal ideation is rising. America is going to take many more months to begin to recover and even for those of us who are healthy, it is not something that will happen overnight. We must preserve our mental health at all costs and be willing to do what is necessary to take care of ourselves. Find the right priest, pastor, rabbi or medical professional if your sadness, depression or PTSD won’t leave you.
Finally, if you were working with PTSD, or depression before you were furloughed, laid-off or terminated, ask for some free help from a disability lawyer about your coverage and legal rights.