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How You Can Social Security Disability for COVID-19

Social Security Disability
Some have found it impossible to work due to COVID-19—prompting them to ask whether they would qualify for Social Security disability.

Do COVID Long Haulers Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?: Many Americans might view Social Security as a program that largely benefits seniors who have retired from the workforce. While this is certainly true, what is not as well known is that this program also serves as an important lifeline to more than eight million disabled Americans.

Social Security Disability and COVID-19

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) has indeed grabbed more headlines in recent weeks due to the fast-rising cases of the highly transmissible Omicron coronavirus variant that is spreading quickly around the world. And for those who have already been infected by the virus, it has been well-documented that some individuals have showcased tell-tale symptoms that long haul COVID-19 sufferers often face—which can include persistent fatigue, shortness of breath, migraines, and brain fog.

In fact, a recent FAIR Health study of nearly two million people with COVID-19 revealed that 23 percent of them continued to have at least one COVID-19 symptom thirty days or more after their initial diagnosis. Due to these crippling symptoms, some have found it impossible to work—prompting them to ask whether they would qualify for Social Security disability benefits. The short answer is yes.

“We certainly have seen an increase of claims because of COVID-related issues, including long haulers,” T.J. Geist, principal advocate at Allsup, a company that represents Social Security disability claimants, told CNBC.

However, many showcasing the common symptoms have yet to be classified as long haulers due to the fact that SSDI is largely designed for individuals who suffer mental or physical conditions that have lasted or are expected to last at least one year.

“Many of those who have long haul symptoms haven’t met that duration requirement quite yet,” Geist noted, adding that he expects disability awards for long haulers to rise as time goes on.

COVID-19 Social Security Disability Claim: You Must Document in Detail Symptoms

According to GoodRx Health, it is highly important to document in detail one’s COVID-19 long-haul symptoms, which will offer the best case if one is to be eventually approved for the benefits.

“Make sure that you have documentation from your doctor in terms of your conditions and your physical and mental impairment,” Lynn Blewett, professor of health policy and management at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health and director of the State Health Access Data Assistance Center, told the site.

“To receive disability payments, it has to be medically determined that that impairment is going to last at least twelve months,” she continued.

Social Security Disability: A Lengthy Application Process

It is also important to keep in mind that applying for Social Security disability benefits is often a lengthy complex process—sometimes taking as long as three to five months to receive a decision, sometimes much longer if your initial application is rejected, which can lead to a lengthy and long appeals process.

“SSDI has a five-month waiting period before you can begin receiving benefits. After two years on SSDI, you can receive Medicare, regardless of age. The application process for SSDI alone can take up to five months, so it’s important to start as soon as you can,” GoodRx Health claimed.

“People getting SSDI have to wait two years for Medicare benefits unless they have end-stage renal disease (ESRD, or permanent kidney failure) or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease). With ESRD and ALS, there is no waiting period,” it concluded.

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.

Written By

Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Science and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV.

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