Does Long COVID Qualify for Disability Benefits?

It’s been nearly four years since the initial coronavirus outbreak, with about 77.5% of Americans infected at least once. While most people recover from the illness within a couple of weeks, many people struggle with debilitating residual symptoms of long COVID. In severe cases, long-term COVID renders victims unable to return to their usual routines.

1 in 13 adults struggle with long COVID symptoms, with some losing their ability to work. Fortunately, if you are experiencing severe COVID symptoms that could last for over a year, you may qualify for disability benefits. Here’s what to know about long COVID and Social Security Disability before you apply.

The Important Role of Long COVID Clinics

There is a growing network of Post-COVID Care Centers (PCCC) in the Portland area to help those suffering from long-term COVID address and manage their symptoms. Several healthcare providers, such as OHSU, Kaiser Permanente, and Providence, have opened clinics in the Portland area specifically for long-term COVID patients.

When seeking disability benefits for long COVID, it is crucial that you visit these clinics for an evaluation. You will receive the specialized care you need there while strengthening your long COVID disability case. You must show the SSA that you have sought specialized help for your long COVID symptoms for your best chance at approval. Long COVID-specific clinics and medical providers are key to providing relevant evidence.

Establish Impairment Through a Clear Diagnosis

In addition to visiting a long COVID clinic, getting an accurate diagnosis for your disability claim requires a process of elimination. For example, if you suspect you have heart issues after testing positive for COVID, you must also see a cardiologist to rule out any heart conditions and confirm that your symptoms are due to long-term COVID. Likewise, if your symptoms align with an autoimmune disease, you must see a rheumatologist to evaluate you for an autoimmune disease. For your best chance at benefits, you must prove that you are doing your part to investigate your symptoms, rule out other conditions, and narrow it down to a qualifying condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Long COVID

Ongoing long-term COVID symptoms can impact several areas of the body and could be severe enough to disrupt your daily life. While seeing a specialist is crucial for your case, you must also record your symptoms for an accurate diagnosis.

Common long COVID symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Chest or throat pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Loss of taste and smell

Other symptoms of long COVID can include the following:

  • Brain fog
  • Insomnia
  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Pins and needles
  • Joint pain
  • Tinnitus or ear aches
  • Digestive issues
  • Rashes

The Role of Local Judges in Your Long COVID Disability Case

Even if you have all the documentation proving that you’ve sought care for your long COVID, the local administrative law judge assigned to you decides whether you can move your claim forward. While some judges are more open to long COVID diagnoses, some might not believe that long COVID alone is considered a qualifying impairment for disability benefits. You need the assistance of a Social Security Disability lawyer familiar with the local judges and are prepared to advocate for you to whomever is assigned to your case. That’s where the local Social Security disability attorneys at Kerr Robichaux & Carroll come in.

Struggling With Long COVID? We’re Here For You

A COVID diagnosis is already enough to put your life on pause. When you begin suffering from long-haul COVID symptoms, however, it could be devastating. Our experienced attorneys are actively pursuing long COVID disability cases in the Pacific Northwest. If you are struggling to return to your daily life following a COVID diagnosis, we are here to help. No disability case is too complex for us at Kerr Robichaux & Carroll. Speak with us for free today.

Contact us today by submitting an inquiry form or calling our office at 503-255-9092 for a free case evaluation.

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