COVID-19 has turned many things on their head, and Social Security Disability benefits is no different. Post-Covid Syndrome Disability is serious and getting more and more attention. Obviously, there are a lot of concerns and questions with Coronavirus.
Sometimes, and in some people, it appears to be no worse than a normal cold and people show very few symptoms.
Other times people aren’t so lucky, and they suffer significant symptoms, are hospitalized, and even placed on a ventilator.
For the Social Security Administration, the real question is how does someone recover from having a severe case of COVID-19?
While not present in all cases, some people continue to have significant symptoms and health issues even after technically “recovering” from Coronavirus and its symptoms.
Post-COVID Symptoms as a Disability?
These lingering health problems are often called post-COVID syndrome and those suffering from it are considered covid “long-haulers.” While exactly what constitutes post-COVID syndrome disability is too complex to cover here, there does seem to be an agreement that health problems from a COVID-19 infection must last longer than 12 weeks after “initial” recovery of the acute coronavirus infection to be considered post-COVID syndrome disability.
Unfortunately, it is unknown how long these post-infection symptoms and disabilities may linger. All this uncertainty has caused the Social Security Administration significant issues as many of these lingering symptoms are not directly associated with symptoms that are common during direct COVID-19 infection. Further, COVID-19 itself has only “existed” for about a year and a half at the time of this writing, which means people with these lingering symptoms could struggle to meet Social Security’s lasting/expected to last longer than 12 months requirement. Thus, at least initially, the Social Security Administration was not considering Coronavirus related cases, and in many cases would simply deny claimants unless there were other medical issues to support the claim.
Luckily, earlier this year, the Social Security Administration issued emergency procedures that both directed normal processing of these claims (i.e., not immediate denial) and that these “Post-Covid Syndrome Disability” cases be specifically flagged for study/data collection by the Social Security Administration. This has led to the Social Security Administration’s current process for considering COVID-19 related cases where they will assess any lingering symptoms and health problems under the listings those symptoms or health issues would fall under without being diagnosed as such (i.e., breathing issues would be handled under 3.02 Chronic Respiratory Disorders, etc.). Further good news for those suffering from post-COVID syndrome, the White House has been working with Social Security, along with other government agencies and programs, to get post-COVID syndrome listed as a disability.
GKT SS Disability Lawyers
There is help available to you. Unfortunately, until post-COVID syndrome disability is added as a disability by social security, it will be extremely important for individuals claiming post-COVID syndrome disability to work with an experienced disability attorney, like those at Gold, Khourey & Turak, to properly pursue your claim. It is more important than ever to list your symptoms and identify the “listings” they fall under appropriately. Our office can help obtain the proper medical evidence to prove these issues and submit your claim in the appropriate manner since there is no direct Coronavirus argument under Social Security’s current set up and procedures.
What is Post-COVID Syndrome?
There is no direct answer to this question. Post-COVID syndrome is a new issue. In fact, it is not even known how long it may last or if recovery would always eventually occur. However, it is generally agreed that in order to be considered post-COVID syndrome, the symptoms must occur after a Coronavirus infection (or suspected infection) and last beyond 12 weeks after recovery from the infection. Typically, it is seen in patients who have experienced severe COVID-19 symptoms, such as being placed on ventilators, but this is not exclusive to them. Furthermore, there is no exact set of symptoms that are agreed upon and not all symptoms are directly associated with what we would consider COVID-19 symptoms.
According to the CDC, symptoms of post-COVID syndrome include: breathing difficulties, significant exertional fatigue, brain fog, cough, chest pain, stomach pain, chronic headache, heart palpitations, joint and muscle pain, tingling sensation in extremities (neuropathy), chronic diarrhea, sleep difficulty, fevers, rashes, dizziness, mood changes, and others (such as immune system issues or kidney failure in extreme cases).
Social Security Disability Qualification
As previously noted, there is currently no direct “listing” to argue post-COVID syndrome disability. Thus, how you pursue a claim for Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, or other disability benefits depends on the specific symptoms or health issues you are experiencing. For instance, say you are an individual experiencing exertional fatigue, brain fog, neuropathy, and sleep issues. You would not necessarily argue any direct Coronavirus issues. Instead, you would note that these stemmed from a Coronavirus infection but would argue the symptoms and their effects on your functioning individually under listings that fit them (for instance neuropathy is considered under 11.14 peripheral neuropathy).
Thus, the first step in a claim such as this is to have a positive COVID-19 infection, or a suspected infection. This will trigger the special flagging Social Security has enacted. You will then simply medically treat your symptoms (i.e., if you are having neurological problems you would treat with a neurologist) to establish and create medical proof of those symptoms, their severity, effect on your daily functioning, etc. While a separate diagnosis may be beneficial, it is not necessary. All that would be needed is to create proper medical evidence of the symptoms and their effects on your day-to-day life. Then you would argue for disability under those symptoms.
Obviously, it is a complex balancing act of proving the symptoms rather than a technical diagnosis and then understanding how to properly argue the unique way in which Social Security is currently treating post-COVID syndrome. If you are thinking this all sounds impossible, you are not alone. The good news is, it is possible with the proper help, and Gold, Khourey & Turak can help you with your disability claim.
Don’t Wait, Act Now!
Regardless of how the Social Security Administration is currently treating health issues arising from post-COVID syndrome, or how they may treat it in the future, don’t play wait and see with your Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, or other disability claim. If you or someone you know is suffering from post-COVID issues and needs to apply for Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, or other disability benefits, or is struggling and needing to appeal an existing claim, contact Gold, Khourey and Turak for help.
We have the experience and knowledge to properly pursue your post-COVID syndrome claim as needed under the current, complex review Social Security uses to establish disability. Contact our office today at 304-845-9750, Live Chat with us 24/7, or complete our online form and schedule an appointment. There is never a fee to talk to us, and you owe us nothing until we win you your benefits. Contact us today so we can get started on your claim.