As time goes on, no one is sure how long the worldwide coronavirus and its variants; omicron, delta etc…outbreak will last. But we are sure that the measures used to combat it around the world have been exhausting to everyone over the last couple of years. It seems that lockdowns have not stopped it and people are questioning if this is a solution that should continue. Quite arguably, there does not seem to be a cure and we all must do our part as we see fit, to just live with it and move forward as best we can. As of January 2022, the new infection rate (possibly of Omicron) is much higher than it was originally in the spring of 2020, when many people thought the world was ending. As a result, many insiders now believe that coronavirus may soon be endemic, much like seasonal flu.
If coronavirus is here to stay, it’s time to have a serious discussion about the long-term effects of this disease, especially as it affects Social Security Disability benefits. Briefly, these benefits are usually available if the petitioner has a long-term health condition that prevents him/her from working. Long-term COVID effects, either by themselves or in concert with some common SSD conditions, could meet this definition. Research in this area is still emerging. But we already know quite a bit.
Lawmakers developed Social Security as a safety net in the 1930s. Back then, times were hard, and many people desperately needed this safety net. A hundred years later, roughly the same environment exists. Now as then, a SSI disability lawyer in Memphis at Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm can evaluate your case and then file for the benefits your family needs and deserves. Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm serves the needs of families seeking representation in the Memphis metro-area and Mississippi, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
Standalone Conditions: Long COVID
Most coronavirus victims range from extremely sick to cold-like symptoms for several weeks. Then, they fully recover. But this flu strain, like other flu strains, affects different people differently. Flu, especially among older adults and other vulnerable populations, has a number of long-term physical and mental effects. Similarly, coronavirus effects often linger long after the initial infection has passed. Frequently, people who had rather mild COVID-19 cases have the worst long COVID symptoms. These effects include:
- Trouble breathing,
- Excessive fatigue,
- Persistent cough,
- Joint and chest pain,
- Trouble concentrating,
- Difficulty sleeping,
- Chronic headache,
- Irregular heartbeat,
- Sensory impairments,
- Anxiety and depression,
- Persistent low-grade fever, and
- Hypotension (dizziness when standing).
Frequently, physical activity makes these symptoms worse. So, long COVID could also have some indirect effects, like muscle degeneration and obesity.
These symptoms adversely affect daily life. But are they legally disabling? Frequently, the answer is “yes,” either directly or indirectly.
Briefly, according to the Social Security Administration, people are disabled if they have a severe condition that prevents them from working. Furthermore, these individuals must be unable to work at another job.
Severity is a very subjective issue. Normally, an SSI lawyer near you focuses on medical evidence in this area. Lay witness statements often supplement medical evidence. For example, Dr. McCoy could testify about the medical effects of trouble breathing and other long COVID symptoms.
Similarly, Starship Enterprise’s Captain Kirk could testify about the practical effects (e.g. Sulu has such a hard time concentrating that he cannot effectively run the control panel).
Employability, or lack thereof, could be a complex issue as well. Long COVID symptoms could be so severe that they prevent people from working. Long COVID symptoms could also be indirectly disabling.
Assume Uhura has some rather mild long COVID symptoms, such as an irregular heartbeat. Therefore, health insurance companies claim she is high risk and charge higher insurance premiums. That fact could discourage potential employers from hiring Uhura. So, for practical purposes, she could be disabled.
Musculoskeletal issues, mostly due to car crashes and other severe trauma injuries, circulatory diseases, and depression or other intellectual disorders account for almost two-thirds of Social Security Disability awards. Some other permanent COVID effects, while usually not disabling in themselves, could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
In other words, if you have one of these three conditions, lost an SSD claim, and have developed any permanent COVID effects, it might be a good idea to renew your claim. As far as the SSA is concerned, either a single condition or a combination of multiple conditions could be disabling.
Organ Damage and Musculoskeletal Claims
COVID organ damage often involves inflammation. Normally, this condition is painful and requires people to curtail their physical activities. But inflammation is almost never disabling on its own.
However, things are different if the COVID inflammation victim was also seriously hurt in a car crash or other such incident.
Assume Chekov was badly hurt in an accident. He can only walk with a cane. His initial SSD application was denied. Although it was difficult for him, he could still get around and therefore still work. If Chekov now deals with severe inflammation due to COVID, he may now be “disabled” according to the aforementioned standard.
Blood Clots and Circulatory Issues
Frequently, blood clots and similar issues, like aneurysms, are life-threatening. But COVID blood clots often block capillaries (smaller blood vessels) which essentially perform a support role. Capillary blood clots are especially common in the heart. Alternatively, a COVID blood clot could cause blood vessel leakage. This condition could contribute to kidney problems.
A number of good anticoagulants are available. Therefore, with proper treatment and monitoring, these small blood clots are usually not disabling. Furthermore, as for potential kidney problems, treatment and monitoring could probably prevent problems in this area.
But if the person already has a weak heart, perhaps due to a genetic condition, the capillary issues could turn the heart condition from a nuisance into a disability. Additionally, treatment and monitoring normally don’t “cure” blood clots and kidney problems. This approach simply minimizes these issues.
Fatigue and Mood Issues and Depression and Intellectual Disorder’s
Frequently, even severe chemical depression is curable. But as mentioned above, the cure is sometimes worse than the disease. The required medicine dosage might be more than the patient can tolerate. That’s the main reason depression and related conditions account for almost 20 percent of SSD claims.
Assume Scotty has a severe chemical imbalance in his brain. However, he is able to take enough Xanax to function. If Scotty develops mood issues and severe fatigue due to long-term COVID, he could go from marginally functional to marginally disabled. In the SSD context, any disability may qualify for benefits.
One thing is for sure, the coronavirus will continue to be researched and Heermans will continue to represent their clients with the latest in information and representation. And in conclusion, Heermans wishes everyone a happy 2022 New Year and hopes everyone “stays safe”.
To learn more about the SSD claims process, contact the disability lawyers at Heermans Social Security Disability Law Firm if you have been denied Social Security claim benefits or would like a FREE disability claim evaluation. Our lawyers are compassionate and understand the pain and frustration that comes with a disability. Let us help you today. More value-added free information can be found in our online article library.
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