Why are COVID long-haulers being denied long-term disability benefits?
As pandemic restrictions are being phased out, many of us are gaining confidence in a new normal. Unfortunately, for COVID ‘long haulers’, this new normal now includes lingering symptoms of COVID-19, even months after recovery.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines long-haul COVID as an illness that occurs in those with a probable or confirmed COVID-19 infection, usually within three months from the onset, with symptoms and effects that last for at least two months and cannot be explained by an alternative diagnosis.’
A cross-Canada survey on long-haul COVID found that nearly 70 per cent of respondents had to take time off work, and more than half had to reduce their working hours due to the symptoms of long-haul COVID. Symptoms include fatigue, chest or stomach pain, loss of smell or taste, brain fog, difficulty breathing, dizziness, headache, and anxiety. For some people, these symptoms can be so debilitating, that they can affect people’s daily lives, including their ability to work. So what happens when someone is unable to work due to long-haul COVID, and how does this impact their eligibility for long-term disability benefits?
As COVID-19 is a relatively new virus, there is still little research available on how to best diagnose and treat people exhibiting symptoms of long-haul COVID. This can make it difficult for people to provide sufficient medical evidence that they have been diagnosed with a disease that impacts their ability to work. In many cases, employers are also ill-informed, often not understanding the severity of these long-haul symptoms and the extent to which they can impact a person’s ability to do their job. Another issue lies in the lack of available and accurate testing for people who suspect they have the virus. PCR and other COVID-19 tests sometimes result in false negatives, which can lead to the denial of long-term disability claims.
Denied long-term disability claims can create unimaginable obstacles for those who are experiencing long-haul COVID symptoms. To add to their debilitating symptoms and stress, long-haulers often are left with no source of income, and therefore unable to afford the medical services and care they need to help them recover quickly so that they get back to work.
As experienced personal injury lawyers, we understand how stressful the long-term disability claims process can be, and the devastation that a victim can feel if their claim is denied. We understand that long-haul COVID is a very real condition, and you deserve to be supported in every way possible on your road to a full recovery. If you are experiencing symptoms of long-haul COVID which have impacted your ability to work, contact us for a free consultation. We take cases on a contingency fee basis, where we cover all the costs of your case and do not get paid unless we recover money for you. We have the experience and knowledge to fight for you and get you the compensation you deserve.