COVID Long-Haulers: How to Receive Your Long-Term Disability Benefits
COVID-19 has infected millions of people worldwide. While many have recovered from this deadly virus, we are still learning about the long-term debilitating effects of COVID.
Unfortunately, some survivors of COVID may end up with long-term side effects and issues. It’s hard to know just how many people have these long-term medical issues right now because they do vary from patient to patient. But if you are suffering from long COVID, you may be able to collect benefits under your short and/or long-term disability insurance benefits policy.
Symptoms of a COVID Long-Hauler
Anyone can become a COVID long-hauler. People who get COVID range from the already sick to the extremely healthy. As evidence on this virus continues to grow, we understand that the healthier you are, the less likely you are to have severe symptoms. Unfortunately, even many healthy people end up as a COVID long-haulers.
For these people who experience ongoing symptoms, some may be debilitating.
The wide range of reported symptoms include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- High blood pressure
- Erratic heart rates and enlarged hearts
- Brain fog
- Lack of concentration
- Difficulty staying focused on a task
- Continued loss of taste or smell
Both the physical and psychological symptoms can have a serious effect on a person’s ability to do their occupation. Living with persistent headaches and brain fog can make it extremely challenging for a worker to focus and concentrate on their important tasks at work. In the most severe cases, these individuals are disabled and unable to work at all.
Getting Short and Long-Term Disability
If you experience COVID long-haul symptoms, you may be able to get short and long-term disability benefits. However, COVID is obviously a recent medical condition and is certainly not written into any long-term disability benefits policy. That does not mean, however, that you cannot get the benefits you bought and paid for.
Unfortunately, doctors today still do not know how long COVID long-haul symptoms last and if people will ever fully recover and lose these symptoms. As a result, it may be more difficult to get long-term disability benefits because of COVID than for other medical conditions. This does not mean you should give up. It means you should call an experienced long-term disability insurance lawyer for help understanding the policy you have and how to make and collect on your claim.
You may collect short and long-term disability benefits for long-haul COVID if:
- You have a short or long-term disability benefits policy either through your work or one that you purchased yourself
- You are unable to work at all or have difficulty working because of your long-haul COVID symptoms
- Your doctor or a physician treated you for long-haul COVID
- Your doctor says that your ability to perform your occupational duties is affected by your long-haul COVID
Ultimately, you will need to review your short and long-term disability benefits policy with a lawyer. While your policy will not specifically name COVID, it surely should cover the symptoms you experience as a disability under your policy.
As with any medical condition, you will need to provide objective and subjective medical and occupational evidence to your disability insurance company who will determine whether your disability qualifies for benefits. You can increase your chances of having your claim approved on the first try by making sure you provide substantial proof of your injury or sickness and your claim is objectively proven.
From your first positive COVID test and on, you will want to provide the treatment history for your COVID experience. This may include the COVID tests you took, any hospital records, as well as doctor, physical therapy, vocational or occupational testing.
The hospital and treating physicians’ medical records will note all of the symptoms you have experienced and their severity. These notes may also clearly show that your symptoms never went away and have been present for an extended time.
After you receive emergency COVID treatment, you will continue to see your regular doctor. Every time you see your doctor and discuss your symptoms, your doctor will keep copious comprehensive notes. These detailed records can show that you are experiencing a legitimate long-term disability that prevents you from doing your occupation.
Because the long-term effects of COVID are still being studied, having family members and colleagues provide witness statements to support you, can prove your case is invaluable. These are people who see you and observe you every day. They will have noticed the substantial changes in your mood and behavior and clearly see how physical problems have impacted your life and your ability to reliably work.
Your lawyer may want to provide your own personal statement when filing your short or long-term disability claim. You can describe, in your own words, how the symptoms of long-haul COVID have affected your daily routine and interfere with your ability to do your occupation. Providing this first-person background can help to paint a clear picture of your life both before COVID and now as a sufferer of long-haul COVID.
When you experience severe cognitive impairment because of your long-haul COVID, you may want to consider a comprehensive neuropsychological exam. This exam will measure your level of function in areas like attention, concentration, and memory. If you score low on this type of exam, it can support your claim that you have a reduced ability to focus and concentrate on your work.
Get the Support You Need
Going through COVID is hard enough. Now having long-haul COVID symptoms stick with you with no end in sight can be scary. If you have short or long-term disability insurance, you may be able to collect disability monthly benefits under your policy for your long-haul COVID medical condition. Remember, COVID is still so new and insurance companies are never eager to pay out monthly claims, you may find it beneficial to partner with an experienced long-term disability lawyer.
Collecting all of the medical, occupational, financial and vocational evidence your insurance company will need can be daunting and overwhelming. Some of the information may even need to be produced, like witness statements. When you suffer long-haul COVID and find it difficult to concentrate on work, getting this evidence can seem like climbing a mountain. Your long-term disability lawyer can support you by taking on this burden, compiling all the evidence necessary, and helping to support your claim for long-term disability benefits so you get paid.