Long-haul COVID, also known as long COVID, is a term that describes complications and symptoms that remain with a person after they contracted the COVID-19 virus. Although not enough time has passed to really determine the length of time a person may suffer from long COVID symptoms, researchers have said it may be approximately 10 to 30 percent of people that will experience them. When a person experiences long COVID symptoms, they may suffer from them for weeks, months, or even years. If you have post-COVID syndrome and want to file your application for SSDI benefits, below are some things you should know.
Social Security and Medically Determinable Impairment
Like all disabilities, when you apply for SSDI, Social Security will first determine if your disability is a medically determinable impairment (MDI). Laboratory findings and medical signs are both used to determine if you suffer from an MDI. In regards to COVID-19, Social Security will need to see proof that includes:
- A positive test for COVID-19, which does not include an antibody test
- A diagnostic test to further confirm COVID-19 or complications, such as a chest x-ray, or
- A diagnosis of COVID-19 that is consistent with symptoms of the disease
Also similar to all disabilities that qualify for SSDI, long-haul COVID must prevent you from working for at least 12 months. If you develop a new condition due to long COVID, such as kidney disease, that is also counted as part of the 12-month period in which you will be unable to work.
The Assessment of Symptoms
Due to the fact that there are currently no official guidelines or rulings on COVID-19 long-haulers and SSDI, Social Security will likely look at these applications on a case-by-case basis, at least for the time-being. If your symptoms are equal to a condition that is currently listed, such as respiratory lung disease, SSDI will likely determine that your symptoms reach a “listing level” of severity. If your symptoms do not meet the listing level, there are two other factors Social Security will consider. These include:
- Physical symptoms: The Social Security Administration will consider many physical symptoms COVID long-haulers are known to experience. These include fatigue, autonomic nervous systems that malfunction, and long-term respiratory issues.
- Cognitive and mental symptoms: Most people that suffer from long COVID report difficulties with concentration and other cognitive functions. When reviewing applications that indicate this, the SSA will likely compare the symptoms with the lifting for neurocognitive disorders to determine if the applicant qualifies for SSDI.
To prove these symptoms of long COVID, you should submit a full diagnosis, evidence that you cannot return to work, and documentation that your condition will likely last at least 12 months.
Reach Out to a Lawyer for Help
If you contracted COVID-19 and are now experiencing long-term symptoms, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney. A skilled legal professional can help you overcome the challenges these unique claims present so your application is approved.