We have been approached with questions about whether or not people who are suffering from or diagnosed with COVID-19 can receive disability benefits. The short answer is, no, not right now. Symptoms that result from COVID-19 are not likely enough to be found disabled and entitled to disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. To be found disabled for purposes of Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits, a person must have an impairment that has lasted or is expected to last twelve months or more (or result in death), and that impairment must be severe enough to cause significant limitations in your function which will prevent you from performing your prior work and other jobs in the national economy.
In the case of COVID-19, we don’t really know what the long term effects of the virus will be and how they will impact long term function in terms of being able to perform work type activities. We believe that it will be at least next year before there can be some valid information on the longer-term symptoms and residual impairment from the COVID-19 virus and how it relates to disability. The Social Security Administration doesn’t currently have regulations related to a disability stemming from a COVID-19 virus. For individuals who suffer long term effects and disability from the virus, establishing entitlement to benefits will require a close analysis of the individual’s functional capacity, or what they can do on a consistent basis in terms of both physical and mental function.
We currently don’t really seem to know how the COVID-19 virus will affect individuals on a long term basis and whether or not it will commonly result in ongoing disability. However, the virus seems to impact individuals with underlying conditions more frequently and it seems likely that for many individuals, the long term effects of the COVID-19 virus in combination with the functional limitations which might result from their other conditions might result in functional impairments at a level that would result in a finding that they are unable to work at all and entitled to disability benefits.
It is unfortunate that so many people are suffering from the effects of the COVID-19 virus and that we don’t know how the virus will affect someone on a long term basis. Generally, if an individual is suffering from significant impairment for more than a few months, it is prudent to file a claim for benefits. There is just so much that is unknown about this particular virus that it is unclear how long effects may last or how debilitating they may be in the long term.
If you feel that you are unable to work due to the effects of COVID 19 or any other impairments, feel free to reach out to us for a free case evaluation and advice on how to proceed.