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Long-COVID and the Fight for Long-Term Disability Benefits

Woman with mask suffering from coronavirus, turn to reliable long term disability benefits attorney in San Francisco.“Long-haulers” is the term used to describe those who suffer Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome, or “Long-COVID.” Long-COVID has impacted upwards of 30% of COVID-19 patients and has left them suffering with significant and oftentimes disabling symptoms. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, long haulers may experience all, some/a combination of, or more than, the following:

  • Difficulty breathing, cough, or shortness of breath
  • Tiredness or fatigue
  • Mental health sequalae
  • Symptoms that get worse after physical or mental activities (also known as post-exertional malaise)
  • Difficulty concentrating/ “brain fog”
  • Chest or stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Fast-beating/pounding heart
  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Pins-and-needles feeling
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep problems/insomnia
  • Fever
  • Dizziness on standing (lightheadedness)

Beyond those symptoms, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention  report that some COVID-19 sufferers will experience “[M]ultiorgan effects or autoimmune conditions over a longer time with symptoms lasting weeks or months after COVID-19 illness.” Further, some people also suffer Post-Intensive Care Syndrome and PTSD, especially if they required a lengthy treatment in the Intensive Care Unit for COVID-19.

Many of those with Long-COVID have symptoms so severe that they are no longer able to work. Take Long-COVID neurologic deficits, for example. Those deficits may result in short-term memory loss, brain fog, difficulty multitasking, fatigue, and attention and concentration difficulties. Thus, a person may have trouble with executive functioning, such as decision making or following through on tasks. Some long-hauler’s medical records even reveal a Long-COVID diagnosis of mild cognitive dysfunction (“MCD”). MCD can result in mental decompensation that prevents a long-hauler from interacting with people at work, or keeping up on their assignments and attention to detail due to mental fog, forgetfulness, and thought processing.

When someone with Long-COVID is unable to work as a result of their disabling symptoms, they may qualify for Long-Term Disability Benefits. Unfortunately, as is the case with several other disabling conditions, insurers will often deny a long-haulers’ claim for benefits. In fact, in early January 2022, one of the first federal lawsuits was filed in which the Plaintiff was denied disability benefits for her post-COVID symptoms. In that case, the Plaintiff’s disability plan was governed by ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income and Security Act of 1974) because the Plaintiff’s employer provided her with the coverage. ERISA requires plans to provide plan information including information on the grievance and appeal processes, and the right to sue for benefits if an insured is denied. The complicated and lengthy appeals process must be exhausted before one can file a lawsuit. When you are suffering long-haulers symptoms, you should not have to muster up the energy to try and figure out how to appeal on your own, and that is where Roberts Disability Law, P.C., may be able to help.

At Roberts Disability Law, P.C., our team solely specializes in ERISA appeals and litigation. If you or someone you know has made a claim for Long-Term Disability benefits based on long-COVID and it was denied, let us evaluate your case.


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*Please note that this blog is a summary of a reported legal decision and does not constitute legal advice. This blog has not been updated to note any subsequent change in status, including whether a decision is reconsidered or vacated. The case above was handled by other law firms, but if you have questions about how the developing law impacts your ERISA benefit claim, the attorneys at Roberts Disability Law, P.C. may be able to advise you so please contact us.

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