Does a Long COVID Diagnosis Qualify for Long-Term Disability Insurance?

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Posted: 28th May 2024 by
Lawyer Monthly
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If you’re like most people, there are parts of the year 2020 you’d like to forget—you know, the weeks and months when the world ground to a stop. The appearance and subsequent spread of the COVID-19 virus upended the lives of everyone around the globe. 

If you’re like most people, there are parts of the year 2020 you’d like to forget—you know, the weeks and months when the world ground to a stop. The appearance and subsequent spread of the COVID-19 virus upended the lives of everyone around the globe. 

Some individuals were fortunate and either didn’t catch the virus or are asymptomatic. Unfortunately, some people lost their lives, while others out there are still dealing with long-term effects. 

Did you know an estimated 2.1 million Canadians are living with long COVID? So, what is long-term COVID, and does it qualify as a disability? In other words, can you qualify for long-term disability insurance if you’re diagnosed with long COVID?

What is Long COVID and Who’s at Risk

The novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19 or simply COVID, shares some traits with the flu. Both are highly contagious respiratory illnesses but are caused by different viruses. 

While the flu or influenza virus is well documented throughout history, COVID is different. The virus hasn’t been present in humans until late 2019 and early 2020, making COVID a new contagious illness that took all medical professionals by surprise.

As mentioned earlier, COVID-19 shares some traits with the flu. The similarities between COVID and other respiratory infections can make diagnosis difficult in the early stages without testing.

Some common symptoms of COVID include:

  • A cough that gradually worsens
  • Difficult breathing/shortness of breath
  • High temperature or simply feeling feverish
  • Chills
  • Muscle weakness
  • Feeling constantly fatigued
  • Body aches, including muscle pains
  • Constant headaches
  • Loss of your ability to taste and/or smell
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea

After being exposed to COVID, it can take up to 14 days for symptoms to appear. However, even if you’re not exhibiting any symptoms, you may still be able to spread the virus to others.

Who’s Most at Risk

COVID-19 can be an issue for anyone. Yes, some individuals can be either asymptomatic, meaning they don’t exhibit any symptoms, or immune to the virus. Why are some people immune to COVID? Research is still ongoing, though scientists hope the answer can help prevent future outbreaks regardless of someone’s vaccination status.

Even though pretty much everyone can come down with COVID-19, some individuals are at a higher risk than others. These include anyone with a weakened immune system or an underlying medical condition like diabetes, high blood pressure, or cancer. 

Adults over the age of 50 are also considered to be at a higher risk—however, don’t panic if this applies to your age. Health and lifestyle also play a role in your risk factors. If you’re concerned about your risk, talk to your primary care provider about staying safe.

Does Long-Term Disability Benefits Cover Long COVID

Just imagine if the symptoms associated with COVID-19 became a part of your daily life. You have a cough that never goes away and are always feeling fatigued and short of breath, even walking down the stairs at home can leave you exhausted and struggling to breathe. So, how are you supposed to return to work while dealing with long COVID?

Thankfully, you may be able to turn to your long-term disability insurance coverage. Yes, some long-term disability insurance policies may cover your loss of income while you’re learning how to manage long COVID.

Long-term disability insurance doesn’t only kick in when your injuries from an accident are keeping you from returning to work. The insurance also covers other types of health conditions like a mental disorder and long-term COVID-19. 

Since the recent global pandemic, the number of people experiencing depression and anxiety is also increasing. Overall, the pandemic has hurt the mental and physical health of millions in Canada and around the world.

If you’re ready to apply for long-term disability benefits relating to your experience with long COVID, there are a few steps you need to follow to help ensure your claim is processed and approved.

Filing a Long-Term Disability Claim

When you’re diagnosed with long-term COVID-19, you don’t want to wait to file a claim. The approval process takes time, sometimes up to four months. You’ll need to submit three forms to hopefully receive long-term disability insurance benefits.

Employer Statement Form

To receive financial benefits, you need to prove you’re employed. In other words, you can’t submit only a few pay stubs and a written description of your job—instead, your employer must fill out a form. 

The form requests information on your salary, your length of employment, your last work date, and if there are any modified positions at the company. A modified position can accommodate your disability.

Your employer will also need to list your job description and duties, and this includes describing your position’s physical and cognitive demands.

Employee Statement Form

As the employee, this is a form you fill out. Most of the requested information is fairly basic like your address, date of birth, job title, your last day at work, and a detailed description of your mental or physical condition. Remember, long-term disability insurance can cover mental disorders like depression or anxiety.

As you’re describing your condition, don’t be afraid to go into detail. This is one of those times when you can’t provide too many details. Describe how the condition is negatively impacting your life. You should also expect a phone call from the insurance adjuster. They will probably have additional questions about your disability’s impact on your life.

Physician’s Form

Along with you and your employer, your attending physician also needs to file out a form. Your physician will describe your condition and provide supporting evidence, like test results and even reports from specialists.

When it comes to mental disorders, your physician will need to go into detail about your condition, which will include describing how your condition is preventing you from returning to work.

Not All Long COVID Disability Claims Are Approved

Sometimes, long-term disability insurance providers deny claims. If this happens to you, don’t give up. You can dispute the insurance company’s ruling, and this is when it’s best to have an experienced attorney on your side. 

Your attorney is familiar with the claim process and can help ensure your long-term disability claim is approved, giving you a better chance of securing the benefits you deserve.

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