The Covid-19 pandemic has affected all of us in significant ways. Some have lost loved ones and others are still fighting to recover from the long-term damage caused by the disease. If you were hospitalized with Covid-19 and suffered severe and long-term symptoms, Social Security could consider you disabled in 2021. To know for sure, consider the length and severity of your symptoms as well as the medical treatment you received during the pandemic.
Are Your Symptoms Long-Lasting?
Social Security claimants must meet the program’s definition of disability.
SSDI defines a qualifying disability as “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.”
Covid-19 is a novel virus which became a serious concern in the United States in early March. Disability claimants should first consider how long they have been or expect to be affected by the disease. Successful claims are those with symptoms that render someone disabled for 12 months or longer.
It is a good idea to consult your doctor for more information about your symptoms and health status. Covid-19 affects individuals differently and your symptoms may change over time.
How Severe Are Your Symptoms?
The Social Security Disability programs (SSDI and SSI) aren’t disease specific. There are a small number of diseases considered so severe that they are fast-tracked through the disability system. But, most claimants must prove they are disabled with significant medical evidence before receiving benefits.
The standard for receiving disability is that you must be so severely impacted by your illness or health event that you cannot work or are expected to not be able to work for at least 12 months or longer.
In the case of Covid-19, that means a claimant who receives disability will have suffered severe, long-lasting damage to their internal systems. It also means at some point they were hospitalized due to the severity of the illness. Perhaps most importantly, successful claims will have documented medical evidence attesting to that stay.
Social Security will evaulate your claim to determine if your symptoms are severe enough that you cannot work. They will consider your current occupation as well as comparable or lessor employment.
The Importance of Medical Evidence
Lastly, it is very important that you have a track record of good medical evidence to support your claim. Social Security cannot simply take your (or your lawyer’s) word for it in terms of your symptoms.
Social Security will seek out qualified medical evidence from your treating physicians to better understand the nature of your symptoms. That is why it’s important to go to the doctor regularly. You should also maintain a working list of treating physicians from who you can solicit records for your claim.
If you are working with a qualified disability lawyer, they will help you contact and compile the necessary medical evidence. But, they need your help in identifying which doctors or hospitals you have visited during the course of your illness.
In conclusion, Covid-19 is a deeply concerning and damaging virus that may affect individuals for years to come. If you are currently out of work or expect to be out of work for 12 months or longer, contact one of our qualified disability lawyers today. We’d be happy to provide you with a free consultation on your claim.