Long-Term Disability Claim Denials for COVID-19 Long HaulersAugust 20, 2021
COVID-19 and Canadians
Although details are still coming in, a recent study conducted by the Public Health Agency of Canada found that about half of COVID-19 patients were still dealing with symptoms more than 12 weeks after their positive diagnosis. These patients, known as “long haulers,” are now concerned that about their long-term disability claims as proving disability from COVID- 19 is difficult. As a result, many of those with post-Covid Syndrome disability claims are left waiting as insurance companies continue to ask for proof of their symptoms.
What Are The Symptoms of Long-Hauler Syndrome?
Just as COVID-19 seems to affect each person differently, Long Hauler Syndrome as it has been called also seems to be different for each person. In addition, testing to determine why someone still has symptoms often find no cause. Many long-term COVID symptoms and disability claims filed show people suffering from overwhelming fatigue, cognitive problems, cough, muscle pain, headache, sleep problems, and cardiac issues. Unfortunately, testing conducted on those complaining of long-term disability due to COVID does not show any damage to the heart, lungs, brain, or muscles, making it difficult for doctors to specifically state that those suffering are permanently injured or whether the symptoms will become lessened over time.
Can I Get Disability for COVID-19 Syndrome?
Many long haulers are seeking long-term disability for the symptoms they say are debilitating. Another issue facing some dealing with post-COVID Syndrome disability is that they may not be able to prove they even had COVID. Some caught the virus early when Canada was limited on the number of tests they could give and, in some cases, tests were not given if family members had tested positive. In one study, less than 60 percent of those suffering from long hauler symptoms were never tested for COVID-19. This makes it much more difficult for long-term disability insurers to approve claims as there is no method for documenting that the symptoms were caused by COVID-19. In addition, because medical tests show no cause for the symptoms, long-term disability companies are wary of approving claims.
How Can I Qualify for COVID Long-Term Disability?
Doctors and insurance companies are recommending that anyone suffering from long-term disability due to COVID-19 keep detailed records regarding their symptoms. This is similar to what those who have chronic fatigue syndrome or chronic pain must do in order to receive long-term disability. Post-Covid Syndrome disability discussions should be with a family doctor, although many Canadians do not have access to a family physician, something the Canadian Medical Association has encouraged the government to address. However, this process only works for those who have long-term disability, something only 12 million Canadians have. For those without long-term disability, they may need to rely on government assistance which is very limited.
What Do I Do If My COVID Long-Term Disability Is Denied?
The fact is that long-term disability claim denials for Covid-19 long-haulers are not uncommon. Some have been fired from their jobs and some have sought government assistance. Unfortunately, most long-term insurance companies do not yet recognize the syndrome exists or they believe improvement could occur. In order to receive assistance, you must prove that you have a disability that affects your ability to work, a medical diagnosis, and a disability that is expected to last at least a year. Because COVID-19 still has many unknowns, long-term disability companies are not willing to agree to payments when it is possible that the person filing may improve over time. If your claim is denied, you need to file an appeal for the denial. You will also want to provide as much information as possible, including doctor notes, test results, and anything else that may demonstrate that you are suffering from long-term disability due to COVID-19.
Because long-term disability and COVID-19 are still very much unknown, you may expect to receive long-term disability claim denials for Covid-19 long-haulers. It is highly recommended that you contact a lawyer for guidance on how to get long-term disability for your symptoms. Many of those who have been denied long-term disability for post-COVID Syndrome disability are seeking legal action against the insurance companies who have failed to approve their claims. If you are suffering from long-term disability due to COVID-19, contact our office to see how we may be able to help. You can arrange for a no-obligation consultation to see what we can do to help you get your claim processed and approved, relieving you of the financial pressure that may also be contributing to your recovery.
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