Most people with Covid-19 recover completely within a few weeks. However, some people, even those with mild versions of the disease, continue to experience symptoms after their initial recovery. Even people without Covid-19 symptoms in the days or weeks after they were infected can have post-Covid conditions. These conditions can present as different types and combinations of health problems for different lengths of time.
These post-Covid conditions may also be known as long-Covid, long-haul Covid, post or chronic Covid. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and experts around the world are working to learn more about short and long-term health effects associated with Covid-19, who gets them, and why.
Older people and people with other serious medical conditions are the most likely to experience post-Covid symptoms, but even young, otherwise healthy people can feel unwell 4 weeks to months to years after infection. Common signs and symptoms that linger over time include:
*shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
*joint or muscle pain
*chest pain, fast or pounding heartbeat
*memory, concentration, sometimes called “brain fog”
*depression or anxiety
*loss of balance or spatial issues
These symptoms can make it impossible for one to continue working. Doctors have estimated there are 750,000 to 1.3 million or more Americans too sick with post-Covid to return to their jobs. This gives rise to disability claims. Unfortunately, insurance companies are skeptical of post-Covid disability claims due to the newness of this condition. Since claimant’s have the burden of documenting and proving their inability to continue their work, it is important to address the unique difficulties with submitting a disability claim based on post-Covid symptoms.
In denying benefits insurance companies often cite the lack of objective medical evidence to support a Covid-19 disability. Patients typically see numerous physicians to pin down the cause of their symptoms and a strategy for treatment. Stennett & Casino’s clients who have submitted Covid-19 disability claims have seen cardiologists, neurologists, psychiatrists, rheumatologists, pain specialists and many other specialists all of whom have a difficult time objectively demonstrating the root of the problem. However, symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, pain, depression and anxiety are all subjective symptoms difficult to measure.
The fact that post-Covid 19 symptoms are mostly subjective does not make it impossible to properly document a claim for disability benefits. Most policies do not require objective evidence to support a disability claim. Subjective complaints under the right circumstances are sufficient to support a disability claim. However, objective evidence is preferable. There is testing available rarely ordered by treating physicians that can document your disability. This would include a Functional Capacity Evaluation to document the physical limitations and CEPT testing to objectively measure the extent of one’s fatigue or lack of stamina and neuropsychological testing to document mental and cognitive issues. Also, a symptom log/diary documenting the array of symptoms experienced daily can help supplement the medical record.
If you are considering submitting a disability claim based on post-Covid-19 symptoms you may be wise to first contact an attorney experienced with such claims to assist you in presenting the best possible claim in these sometimes difficult cases.