At what point does COVID-19 infection become a disability? | Chicago News

(Courtesy of Northwestern Medicine)

According to some disability rights advocates, COVID-19 could be the largest disability event since polio.

They refer to those who suffer from “long-haul COVID-19”, also known as long-haul carriers. These are people who experience viral symptoms weeks after diagnosis. Symptoms range from “brain fog” to shortness of breath and depression.

Dr. Charles Davidson oversees Northwestern Medical Center COVID-19 Center, It is estimated that about 20% to 30% of COVID-19 patients are affected by this phenomenon.

Elgin’s Patrick Maria was infected with COVID-19 in March 2020. More than a year later, a 38-year-old woman still has symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, and shortness of breath. It made him feel physically exhausted from the day of work and even took a break during his 10 minutes to get home from work.

“I take it one day at a time,” Maria said. “I talked to my son last night. He was worried about what would happen today, so I’m not worried tomorrow. I’m worried about going through today.”

Maria, like many others dealing with the long COVID-19, considered signing up for disability benefits to relieve some of his stress and fatigue. However, it’s not always a simple process.

“I’m just talking to other people who are experiencing the same thing, and the information isn’t there. There are many people who are having a hard time overcoming obstacles,” Maria said. “There’s a Facebook group I’m in, and what we’re experiencing isn’t really acknowledged, and it’s still at the forefront, so many people aren’t very successful in overcoming obstacles. I’m reporting that it isn’t. “

Martina Sherman, a shareholder of the law firm DeBofsky Sherman Casciari Reynolds PC, has worked with a long COVID-19 client trying to navigate the interests of people with disabilities. She hopes that the questions surrounding long-haul carriers will be a problem. The Social Security Administration requires that a disability that nullifies the disability lasts for at least 12 months or is expected to be fatal.

For many who have long experienced COVID, the time frame is unknown.

“This could be the biggest disability event of our life,” says Sherman. “The disease has been around for a very long time and we don’t know how long it will last, so we don’t know how the benefits of people with disabilities will change for different time frames.”

In a statement, Doug Nguyen, Regional Communications Director for the Chicago region of the Social Security Administration, said:

“People who have or are expected to meet or are expected to meet the limitation due to COVID may work if the limitation is equal to the medical list or by a combination of these limits and occupational factors. If you can’t, you know it’s disabled. Current social security disability policy rules can evaluate cases of COVID-19. “

Another potential issue is the age of long-haul carriers. Initially, many patients with long COVID-19 appeared to be older or in pre-existing conditions such as chronic lung disease, according to Davidson. But now the average patient is 49 years old.

Sherman said it can be difficult to have a disability under the age of fifty. For those with long COVIDs, they are unlikely to benefit immediately after they apply, unless they are about to retire.

“You are seeing a very long process with unguaranteed income,” Sherman said. “I think many people have to go back with their parents, fall into the support system, or force the support system to work because they can’t afford to wait.”

For those interested in getting a disability allowance, Sherman recommends asking the employer for a copy of the long-term and short-term disability plan to see what is covered. Beyond that, she said she would keep a diary of symptoms that could be used to substantiate the benefits application, she added.

Maria said she hopes the long COVID-19 will become more perceived as a health crisis.

“There is still the idea that we have a 99% survival rate and can get back to work in two weeks,” Maria said. “People like me are overlooked and there are thousands of people like me.”

Note: This story will be updated in the video.

At what point does COVID-19 infection become a disability? | Chicago News

Source link At what point does COVID-19 infection become a disability? | Chicago News

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