COVID-19 haulers may be eligible for social security disability benefits as long as the symptoms post-COVID-19 restrict them from doing work. The long-term debilitating physical and cognitive symptoms include pulmonary distress, crippling joint and muscle pain, and brain fog, making it difficult to return to work. This results in long-COVID patients being vulnerable to financial and emotional strain. Attorneys extract information from the medical records of the plaintiff to claim disability assistance. Medical record review for attorneys ensures that there is a faster determination of disability claims of the plaintiff.
How Do You Know That You Are A COVID-19 Long Hauler?
Long COVID is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as post-COVID conditions that cause new, recurring or ongoing health issues that persist for four or more weeks after initially getting infected with coronavirus.
There is a wide range of symptoms that can disable the patients to work including:
- Breathing difficulty accompanied by shortness of breath
- Extreme tiredness or fatigue
- Post-exertional malaise whose symptoms worsen after a physical or mental activity
- Acute pain that affects the body include headache, joint and muscle pain, chest pain, and abdominal pain.
- Worsening symptoms of sleep apnea
- Mood changes
Long COVID-19 Recognized As a Disability
With reference to bryantlg.com, on the basis of the recent guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), long COVID is recognized as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This implies that the federal government as well as the local governments must ensure that the disability benefits are extended to long haulers. The disability is considered like any other disability and the benefits are applicable in this regard.
However, the Americans with Disabilities Act has stated the eligibility criteria to recognize long haulers as persons with disability. In this direction, individual cases are assessed to match the disability criteria. Medical records review for social security disability is essential to know whether the plaintiff is qualified for long-term disability insurance benefits. This involves checking for the symptoms that physically and mentally impair the plaintiff making him/her incapable to work. The disability can be anything from mental illness to heart failure but it should be associated with long COVID.
Medical Evidence Integral to Social Security Disability Benefits Claim
Medical records can be considered a legal document that enables attorneys to evaluate relevant medical information of the plaintiff to claim social security disability benefits.
- The first step towards this is to analyze the present medical condition of the plaintiff. The timeline of the medical encounters plays a vital role in understanding the degree of disability and how it impacts the ability to work.
- The medical encounters help attorneys to know the pace with which the symptoms related to COVID-19 were aggravating.
- SSA usually considers medical records that are not older than six months. Typically, the symptoms of long COVID will be recent and they are mentioned chronologically in the medical records.
- Evaluating medical records allows attorneys to get a clear picture of the present medical condition of the plaintiff and its severity based on the data on medical sources.
- For instance, take the case of a long hauler of COVID suffering from pulmonary distress.
Medical records have diagnostic test results and X-Ray reports. The clinical observation mentioned in these reports is valuable data that can be highlighted during the submission of the claims. Lung damage limits a person from working and the person is legally eligible to derive social security disability benefits from the respective governments.
- The above example shows the importance of medical documentation in social security disability claims pertaining to the long COVID. The Social Security Disability Insurance program gives more weightage to the testimony of the plaintiff but it should have sufficient medical evidence. If the medical data is inadequate, chances are high that the plaintiff’s request is denied which is undesirable.
With medical review companies, attorneys can focus on preparing for the litigation rather than doing the overwhelming task of analyzing humongous medical records.