COVID-19 AND DISABILITY
A number of clients have asked about Covid-19 as a basis for disability benefits or SSI. While most people recover from the virus after several weeks, some suffer more serious effects and ongoing impairments. Those with autoimmune diseases such as MS, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis, those with other chronic health conditions including heart disease, COPD, cancer, obesity, and others with compromised immunity are at increased risk of severe disabling complications from Covid-19.
The Social Security Regulations designate certain impairments which automatically are considered disabling if you meet the listed medical criteria. Covid-19, being a novel virus, is not among them. But you may still qualify for benefits provided you meet the other requirements to establish disability.
Generally, an applicant for disability benefits must show a severe impairment or combination of impairments that precludes the ability to work on a full-time basis for at least a year, or that is expected to result in death. The Social Security Administration will consider the effects of all impairments combined, such as Covid 19 and any other underlying physical or mental condition, in determining if you are able to work.
Some people who have had Covid 19 suffer lasting effects from the virus including lung damage from acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Other “long haulers” may experience lingering symptoms such as fatigue, muscle pain, headaches, joint pain, memory, concentration or sleep problems, irregular heartbeat, or organ damage. All of those issues may contribute to an inability to work and establish eligibility for disability benefits.
As with other impairments, in determining eligibility based entirely or in part on Covid-19 complications, age, education, and past work are relevant factors in determining whether you might qualify for disability benefits. At Green & Greenberg, we can answer any questions you may have and help you determine if Covid-19 and any other conditions might qualify you for disability. Give us a call at 401-331-8989 for a free consultation at your convenience.