Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has kept track of both COVID-19 and long COVID cases to understand and adequately respond to the public. It remains unclear whether individuals with long COVID are eligible for benefits under the SSA.
We have limited guidance on this issue due to the ongoing understanding of the illnesses associated with long COVID. There has been a rise in claims for benefits from individuals who claim to suffer from long COVID. Some claim to suffer from ongoing problems due to long COVID that would traditionally qualify under definitions provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and professionals in the medical industry.
In evaluating a claim, certain factors decide whether to approve or deny a Social Security disability claim.
These factors include:
- Durational issues
- Listing-level severity
- Functional limitations
- Lack of treatment
The ongoing pandemic has left behind questions. However, it may take time to receive further clarity from the government regarding whether long COVID is a disease covered under the SSA.
Long COVID as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released guidance indicating that long COVID can be a disability under the ADA Sections 504 and 1557 if it “substantially limits one or more major life activities” and is “a physical or mental impairment.”
However, the HHS clarifies that long COVID is not always a disability and that an “individualized assessment is necessary” in each case.
It is essential to know that the government strictly defines the terms described within these laws. Additional legal guidance can be helpful to fully understand the legal terms and requirements to qualify for protection.