Imagine an illness where you seemingly never get better. That is what countless victims of long Covid experience on a daily basis. Diagnosed months, if not years ago, those suffering from this malady marathon are unable to make a living, if not enjoy life.
Approximately 23 million U.S. citizens suffer from long Covid based on estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of those, four million are likely not working because of their illness, based on information from a Brookings Institution study.
Recently added to the list of disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act is important but not automatic when it comes to securing benefits. Receiving approval for disability presents significant challenges.
Challenges in securing benefits
According to the Social Security Administration, qualification mandates individuals to have a medical condition or combination of maladies that stop them from working. Also, they are not likely to be able to perform their job functions for at least one year, which leads to their deaths.
All of this is occurring in the shadow of ending the public health emergency in the coming months. To make matters worse, the SSDI’s routine of denying applications is especially impacting long COVID sufferers. Securing the documentation necessary from specialist physicians presents challenges. Diagnoses and prognoses of symptoms such as cognitive dysfunction that may be difficult to determine. Other symptoms can arise and change over time.
To date, the SSA has flagged approximately 44,000 disability claims that cite Covid as one of their medical conditions, accounting for one percent of all disability applications received. That number may increase as more long Covid victims come forward when they apply for SSDI benefits.