Long COVID & Long-Term Disability

Since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020 most of the news surrounding the virus was focused on the number of hospitalizations and death that resulted from COVID-19 infections.  Over the years as the COVID-19 virus has been better understood and immunity has increased with the roll out of the vaccines and from natural immunity, it has become clear that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future and the new focus of COVID-19 has become those infected that end up with long-term symptoms, often called Long COVID.

Symptoms of Long COVID

Long COVID is more common than most people think with one study showing that 15% of Canadians infected with COVID-19 end up suffering from long-term symptoms.  Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still not well understood and how and why the various symptoms occur is still a mystery for the most part.  Long COVID symptoms are incredibly varied and require different approaches and most doctors are not able to diagnose and treat Long COVID effectively due to how new and novel a disease it is.  Some of the symptoms of Long COVID are: 

  • Fatigue
  • Memory Issues
  • Cognitive Issues 
  • Fever
  • Persistent Cough
  • Difficulty breathing 
  • Headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety
  • Blood Clots
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach Pain
  • Loss of Smell
  • Loss of Taste
  • Joint Pain 
  • Muscle Pain
  • Chest Pain
  • Heart issues

While what the medical and scientific community know about Long COVID and its symptoms continues to grow, as it currently stands Long COVID symptoms are still not well understood and can be debilitating and get in the way of individual’s activities of daily living.

Insurance Companies and “Invisible Illnesses”

Insurance Companies who insure for short-term and long-term disability have historically been quick to deny claims for disability arising out of a so called “invisible illness”, any illness without objective findings such as a broken bone or torn ligament.  Disabilities arising out of depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, etc. have often met push back from insurance companies because they are by their nature disabilities which rely on subjective self-reporting.  Long COVID is no different except for that it is so new and so unknown that even doctors have a hard time diagnosing and treating the disease.  In light of this it’s safe to assume that many disability claims for Long COVID will be hard fought. 

At the end of the day while a clear diagnosis is always helpful, it will be the symptoms someone suffers from and the restrictions that flow from those symptoms that will determine whether or not most people qualify for long-term disability.  The important thing to remember is to make sure your doctor is on your side and that they aren’t equivocal or ambiguous in their position. 

Long-Term Disability Claims for Long COVID

If your Long COVID long-term disability claim is denied by your insurance company, the first thing you should do is request a complete copy of your file from the insurer.  They are obligated to provide it to you and it will have the information an experienced insurance denial lawyer needs to move forward with your case.  Just because your insurance company has denied your claim, doesn’t mean a lawyer can’t help you get the long-term disability benefits you deserve. 

Insurance denial lawyer Brian Jacobson of Taylor & Blair LLP was asked to comment on Long COVID and the implications for long-term disability claims by Clearway Law for an article on the topic.  You can view their article here

If you have a long-term disability claim for Long COVID that has been denied contact the lawyers at Taylor & Blair LLP today, as there are time frames in which you have to take action.