Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits may be available to workers who struggle with “long Covid,” but it is not easy to qualify for SSD benefits. If you need SSD benefits in or near San Diego, you should have the advice of a San Diego Social Security disability attorney.
After more than two years, it is clear to almost everyone that the pandemic has had different effects on different groups of people. Depending on their vaccination status, their treatment dates, and the severity of their symptoms, many recovered from Covid within about two weeks.
How Widespread is Long Covid?
Others – notably the elderly and the immunocompromised – were entirely incapacitated, and more than 970,000 lives were lost. According to the Washington Post, doctors now estimate that up to a million workers in the United States are too sick with long Covid to return to their jobs.
Long Covid is affecting people of all ages and in all walks of life in all parts of the United States, and it’s not only those Covid patients who were hospitalized or placed on respirators. You could develop long Covid even if your first symptoms were mild.
In fact, many patients who had mild cases of Covid now report complications and symptoms that persist for months. For these patients, the Covid virus is no longer active and they cannot transmit it, but they are nevertheless unable to perform work and simple work-related tasks.
Are those who suffer with long Covid (or “post-Covid syndrome”) eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits? What steps do you take to apply for SSD benefits? If you will keep reading this brief discussion of long Covid and SSD, you may find the answers you need.
What Are Long Covid’s Symptoms and Effects?
Long Covid’s symptoms usually manifest as respiratory problems – primarily as a shortness of breath – probably caused by scarred lungs or by heart inflammation. Long Covid also affects the nasal passages, so that a person’s senses of taste and smell may deteriorate or be entirely lost.
Covid can damage the heart, brain, lungs, and nervous system. It can cause autoimmune disorders, multisystem inflammatory syndrome, and neurological problems: memory loss and the inability to concentrate. Mental health problems such as anxiety and depression are also reported.
Can Long Covid’s Symptoms and Effects Be Documented?
Some of these conditions can be documented with objective medical data such as pulmonary function tests and CT scans. It is more difficult to prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA) that symptoms like fatigue or anxiety are linked to long Covid or constitute a disability.
Tests can now measure several Covid-related conditions including dysautonomia, an autonomic nervous system disorder which affects the body’s ability to regulate itself. Its symptoms include headaches and blood pressure variability, but many patients are waiting months for the tests.
How long do the effects of Covid last? Could they be permanent? We do not know. We do know, however, that long Covid poses risks not only to your health but to your family’s finances. Unforeseen health costs and lost wages are causing financial hardships for many families.
What Are Social Security Disability Benefits?
SSD benefits are provided through the Social Security Administration to disabled workers who have earned those benefits with payroll contributions. To qualify, you must have a condition that meets the SSA’s definition of a disability. You may be considered disabled by the SSA if:
- You can’t work or perform simple work-related tasks because of a disability that has lasted, or is anticipated to last, at least twelve months (or result in your death).
- Your disability keeps you from engaging in “substantial gainful activity,” which the SSA defines as earning above $1,350 a month as of 2022 (or $2,260 a month if you are blind).
Do Long Covid Patients Qualify for SSD Benefits?
For many workers who are struggling with long Covid, a claim for disability benefits may be denied simply because they have not been experiencing long Covid symptoms for twelve months, and there is no way to determine how long their symptoms will remain.
With conditions like long Covid, proving to the Social Security Administration that you have a qualifying disability is not something that you can do with one medical test. It requires the comprehensive documentation of your symptoms over an extensive amount of time.
Nevertheless, disability benefit applicants who are suffering from long Covid symptoms can improve their chances of receiving SSD benefits by fully documenting their long Covid symptoms:
- Keep a complete record of your long Covid symptoms as evidence of your disability.
- Record the frequency, length, and severity of your long Covid symptoms.
- Visit your doctor regularly to establish medical records of your symptoms.
How Do You Apply for SSD Benefits?
If you need to apply for Social Security disability benefits, do it with the help and guidance of a San Diego Social Security disability lawyer. A disability lawyer can help you compile the medical records and other documents that must accompany your application for SSD benefits.
Your attorney can also complete the application or review it after you have completed it. It can take a year or more to receive your first benefit payment, so there must not be any misunderstandings or mistakes in your application that could further delay the process.
Most first-time applications for Social Security Disability benefits are rejected. If that happens to your own application, you will need to have a San Diego Social Security disability lawyer file an appeal, but it’s better to have a lawyer’s advice and insights even before you apply for benefits.
What Else Should You Know About Long Covid and SSD Benefits?
If you can’t work and earn income because of long Covid, how can you pay for a disability attorney? The Social Security Administration requires a disability attorney’s compensation in these cases to be based on a percentage of the final benefits amount.
This means that you pay no fee to a San Diego Social Security disability attorney until and unless that attorney wins the Social Security Disability benefits that you need and deserve.
If you are suffering with long Covid in or near the San Diego area, your first consultation with a disability attorney is provided without obligation or cost. It’s your opportunity to learn more about Social Security Disability benefits and what it will take for you to obtain those benefits.