Post-COVID-19 Disability Claims
Thursday, July 9th, 2020
Patients who survived coronavirus should make the effort to locate their original disability insurance policy. Unfortunately, people who were successful in battling the coronavirus are likely to have to deal with serious long-term health challenges that will likely keep them out of work for an extended period of time.
Strokes. Doctors at London’s National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery report seeing an increase in strokes in COVID-19 patients, with clotting markers at levels of hundreds of times the normal amount. Blood thinners are not always effective. Coronavirus is now known to cause clots in patient’s legs, lungs and their brains.
Brain and spine inflammation. Post-coronavirus health issues include neurological complications. A previously rare brain inflammation is being seen in patients, with inflammation in the brain and the spinal cord. Under normal circumstances, one medical team said they typically would see only around one patient with brain inflammation on average. Now they are seeing about one patient a week. They believe the problems stem not directly from the coronavirus itself, but from the body’s immune response to the virus.
Heart disease. Cardiomyopathy in previously health people is also being reported. One survivor, a pulmonary critical care doctor diagnosed with COVID-19, was able to return to work, but kept having odd symptoms: her heart was racing, she was often tired and out of breath. A closer look revealed that she had developed cardiomyopathy as an aftereffect of COVID.
Lung and respiratory complications. Coronavirus patients who are on ventilators for an extended period of time are having persistent breathing problems once they have recovered from the virus. Patients who are on ventilator for an extended period of time are at risk of pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue is damaged and scarred.
It’s now recognized that the virus attacks the lungs, in many cases causing hundreds of microclots that can break off and cause a stroke or heart attack. but during autopsies, the virus has been found in parts of the brain, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract and spleen and in the endothelial cells that line blood vessels.
None of these post-coronavirus complications are good, and most will change the course of many survivor’s lives. People who counted on their disability insurance policies to help replace the income lost as a result of being sick with coronavirus may need to first apply for short-term disability insurance before they can apply for long-term benefits. This may become complicated, as the person who is intubated (on a ventilator) is not able to apply for benefits.
Many questions will need to be addressed regarding short and long-term disability. Here are a few:
- Will the employee be considered eligible for short term disability benefits at the time of their hospitalization?
- Will the short-term disability benefit be back-dated to time of hospitalization, or the date that they were diagnosed with COVID-19?
- What if the person was not able to get tested because of a shortage of tests?
- Howe long will it take for the short-term disability payments to begin?
- When will the person become eligible to claim long-term disability benefits?
- If the person is in a region where hospitals and critical care facilities are overwhelmed with saving patient lives and no one is available to process medical records requests, how will their claims be processed?
These are just a few of the issues facing COVID-19 patients who are lucky enough to survive the effects of the virus. Frankel & Newfield recommends that patients or immediate family members take advantage of a free telephone consultation with the firm to get a fair and unbiased assessment of their disability claim situation. The call and the consultation are free. Call 877-583-2524 to learn more.