COVID Long Haulers and Disability Claims
Medical and scientific professionals are learning more about COVID-19 every day and agree that having contracted the virus is not always a one-and-done matter. You or someone you know might have been diagnosed with COVID but still experience debilitating disabling symptoms long after your first ones surfaced.
If you suffer from physical, cognitive or mental nervous symptoms weeks or months after the initial COVID diagnosis, you are one of many “long haulers.” If these symptoms restrict and limit your ability to do your occupation and perform your work, you should know how to use and when you qualify for long-term disability (LTD) benefits.
An Update For 2021
The Lancet, a medical journal, recently released the results of a study tracking 1,733 adult patients with diagnosed with COVID-19 between January and May 2020. The study revealed that 76% of COVID-19 patients who were hospitalized in Wuhan, China still had at least one symptom six months after getting sick.
The most dominant long-term symptom after six months was fatigue and muscle weakness, with nearly 63% reporting. Another 26% of patients said they had difficulty sleeping, while 23% said they had experienced anxiety or depression since contracting the virus. Clearly these results demonstrate that the after-effects were physical and mental, and it is reasonable to expect this data to evolve as more studies conclude.
Recognizing The Physical Symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise that people had the following physical symptoms in the first two weeks after exposure to COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
The pain people experienced initially may linger, and even evolve to include related symptoms. Additionally, heart and cardiac complications have commonly arisen in long haul cases, well after contracting COVID. These conditions may help explain why some long haulers experience shortness of breath, chest pain and their heart racing.
Consider examples such as a warehouse worker whose regular headaches prevent him or her from safely and responsibly operating a forklift, or a security guard who experiences constant dizziness. Even if you get winded walking up a flight of stairs, working in these conditions would jeopardize your safety as well all your employer, co-workers, customers and others around you.
Acknowledging The Mental, Psychological and Cognitive Symptoms
Many non-physical and internal symptoms have also continually been reported by long haulers, particularly those who are over 60 years old and have comorbidities. The CDC also warns of cognitive associated risks, such as:
- Chronic fatigue syndrome (also known as fibromyalgia)
- Shortened attention span and difficulty concentrating
- Slowed processing
- Reduced executive functioning
- New confusion
It is easy to imagine how feeling lethargic can limit someone from doing their occupation – even if it is at a desk or requires sedentary computer work. The CDC noted that chronic fatigue syndrome was also linked to another coronavirus, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). These viruses and others have been known to trigger delayed neurological effects, that surely restricts most occupational duties.
Additionally, there are the mental and psychological effects of COVID, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression. A Scientific American article focusing the mental wellness of health care professionals was particularly insightful. It cited a survey of 1,257 physicians and nurses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in China found that about 50% of respondents reported symptoms of depression, 44% reported symptoms of anxiety and 34% reported insomnia.
COVID has exacerbated an already-high rate of PTSD and major depression among essential workers, many of whom could have already been triggered by natural and man-made disasters. DarrasLaw represents many of these hard working professionals who need critical, long-term disability benefits to heal before they can physically and mentally return to work.
Long Haulers, Hire An LTD Lawyer To Help File Your LTD Claims
As the number of COVID cases continue to rise, we can expect more long haulers with mental and/or physical symptom cases outlined by CDC guidelines that may prevent you from doing your occupation. If you are unable to perform your professional responsibilities for an extended period of time, then you should seek disability counsel and file an LTD claim promptly. Do you have group disability, employer-sponsored disability or private/individual disability insurance? Do you need help understanding what you bought or how to use your coverage?
Getting the appropriate medical care, treatment, therapy and medications along with objective testing, documenting your restrictions and your doctor using your occupational physical and mental demands along with an attending physician statement goes a long way when properly completing the initial claims forms.
Remember, the LTD claims process is quite complex and you may need a lawyer who focuses on disability benefits to help you file and appeal any wrongful denials. With health agencies and professionals still studying and leading the fight against COVID, the full grasp of “long haul” infections are first being seen and examined by insurance providers.
The award-winning individual and nationally renowned group long-term disability attorneys at DarrasLaw always offer a free disability policy analysis and free claim consultation to determine whether your individual, group or association related policy entitles you to short and/or long-term disability benefits. If you suffer from any type of mental or physical injury or illness that prevents you from performing the important duties of your occupation, call us today at (800) 898-7299 or contact us online.