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NBC News

NBC News

Long COVID Can Now Qualify as a Disability

Long COVID Can Now Qualify as a Disability

President Biden says that some long COVID cases qualify for federal benefits under the disability law. Learn more about assistance and eligibility.


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Long COVID can qualify as a disability in certain instances, President Biden announced July 26 at an event celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In such cases, people suffering from long-COVID symptoms would have access to federal resources that could help them resume their prior quality of life.  

How to Know If You’re Eligible

Not everyone who experiences lingering COVID-19 symptoms is eligible for disability benefits and protections. According to guidelines released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an “individualized assessment is necessary to determine whether a person’s long-COVID condition or any of its symptoms substantially limits a major life activity.”

Those who do qualify may receive access to community-based assistance with housing and medical care, as well as “reasonable modifications” in their work or school settings.

“We’re bringing agencies together,” said Biden, “to make sure Americans with long COVID who have a disability have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law, which includes accommodations and services in the workplace and school, and our health care system so they can live their lives in dignity.”

If you suspect you have long COVID, and it’s interfering with your ability to work, record your symptoms and talk to your HR department. Short-term disability may provide you with up to 75% of your paycheck and last anywhere from a few weeks to two years. Long-term disability typically pays about 60 percent of your earnings but can last for much longer.

*Egan, L. (2021, July 26). Biden Says Long COVID Could Qualify as a Disability Under Federal Law. NBC News. https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/biden-says-long-covid-could-qualify-disability-under-federal-law-n1275044

Much about the novel coronavirus, i.e., COVID-19, is still not fully understood. As research progresses and our knowledge of the virus increases, information can change rapidly. We strive to update all of our articles as quickly as possible, but there may occasionally be some lag between scientific developments and our revisions. 

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