Most people who suffer from the coronavirus, and survive, recover relatively quickly. But other survivors keep suffering symptoms and effects for a long time afterward, in a phenomenon known as “long COVID’ or “long-haul COVID.”
“We certainly have seen an increase of claims because of COVID-related issues, including long haulers,” one advocate who handles Social Security disability claimants told CNBC. That person added that while some in that situation have been awarded benefits, “the majority of those have been people with lingering complications from being put on ventilators.”
Most of those who receive Social Security disability benefits are those who have suffered an illness for twelve months or longer, and not many sufferers of long-haul COVID have had the disease for that long.
President Biden said in July that long COVID could soon qualify as a disability under federal law, per NBC News.
"We're bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long COVID who have a disability have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law, which includes accommodations and services in the workplace and school, and our health care system so they can live their lives in dignity," the president said last month.
The same week, the Biden Administration issued a “fact sheet” listing resources available to those suffering from long COVID. The announcement came on the anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
‘Today the Administration is also releasing a package of guidance and resources to support individuals experiencing the long-term symptoms of COVID-19 or ‘Post- Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC),’ known commonly as 'long COVID,'” the administration said in the fact sheet. "The announcements from the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice, Education, and Labor provide information about where individuals can access resources and accommodations and clarifies the rights for health and educational services and supports.”
The Office for Civil Rights at HHS and Department of Justice both issued guidances, “explaining that some individuals with long COVID may have a disability under various civil rights laws that entitles them to protection from discrimination.”
Also released were guidelines from the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, aimed at helping children who have suffered from long COVID.
In addition, the Labor Department’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) launched a website with information about benefits available to those with long COVID, such as job accommodations and employee benefits.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.