Where Long Haul COVID meets long-term disability

By Jeffrey Shinehoft November 9, 2021

Let us start this blog by looking at two definitions:

Long Haul COVID:

Long Haul COVID is when people contract the COVID-19 virus, and they experience ongoing health problems four or more weeks after being infected. These symptoms can present differently and for different lengths of time.

There are different types of post-COVID effects according to the U.S. Centre for Disease Control:

There can be new or ongoing symptoms. These can include difficulty breathing, fatigue, difficulty concentrating (“brain fog”), cough, chest or stomach pain, headaches, heart palpitations, joint or muscle pain, feeling of pins and needles, diarrhea, sleep problems, fever, lightheadedness, rashes, mood changes, changes in smell or taste, changes in menstrual cycles.

People who suffer particularly severely from COVID-19 can have multiorgan (heart, lung, kidney, skin, and brain function) effects or autoimmune conditions (swelling or tissue damage)that last well beyond the illness.

Another type of effect from COVID-19 can come from long rates of hospitalization. Terms like “post-intensive care syndrome” refer to severe weakness, problems with thinking and judgment, and post-traumatic stress resulting from trauma from having been in crisis in hospital. These symptoms can be mild to severe, leading to mental health problems and financial insecurity from extensive work periods.

Long term disability:

Long-term disability insurance benefits often start after your employer’s short-term disability insurance, sick leave benefits, or EI benefits finish. Long-term disability plans commonly replace between 60 per cent to 70 per cent of a person’s typical income.

Every lawyer and insurance company will explain that each disability plan has its differences in terms of the length and amount of compensation allocated. Compensation will depend on two critical factors. 1) Is the person able to return to the job they had before (own occupation)? 2) Is the person able to return to work doing any job (any occupation)?

The term “disability,” unfortunately, does not always mean the same thing to all parties. As a result, lawyers play an essential role in deciphering insurance policies.

Where these two terms meet:

As time progresses, the medical profession is learning more about the long-term impacts of COVID-19, whether ongoing symptoms, multiorgan or autoimmune conditions, or impacts of extended hospital stays and emergency interventions. It is an area being studied worldwide, and the results of such studies have already started to be published.

Suppose someone is unable to return to work for an extended period. In that case, long-term disability coverage may be a right to which they are both entitled and need for ongoing treatment and recovery support.

For more information on long-term disability, contact Jeffrey Shinehoft Personal Injury Law today.