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Long Covid Disability Update: Researchers Looking at Connections Between COVID and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, aka ME/CFS)

Monday, May 2nd, 2022

If you’ve had COVID and are experiencing post-COVID symptoms of fatigue, muscle pain, poor sleep, and shortness of breath, it may help to know you are not alone and your symptoms are not imaginary.

People suffering from the same symptoms from ME/CFS often have long-term disability insurance claims denied. The insurance company denies the claim, stating they are “not really disabled,” or their “condition” is not a disease, just a group of symptoms.

We are now hearing about these same symptoms from people calling our office with Long-COVID, which shares many  symptoms of ME/CFS patients. While the area remains in its infancy medically, clinical research is taking place around the world to learn why people – even those with asymptomatic COVID who tested positive for the disease but had no symptoms—are suffering with Long-COVID, months and years afterwards.  The array of symptoms spans many body systems and varies among patients.

Our firm has successfully represented many ME/CFS patients in short-term and long-term disability insurance actions when their disability insurance company denied their claims, before and after clinical research caught up to what we have always known: ME/CFS is a debilitating illness and it’s real. We know Long-COVID claimants are facing the same challenge with their disability insurance claims.  Until the science catches up to the patients, what do claimants do to support a claim?

If you have Long-COVID or ME/CFS and need help with your long-term disability insurance, contact our office at 877-583-2524. We have represented many claimants with Fibromyalgia, CFS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and other disabling diseases and are experienced with the tactics used by insurance companies to deny and terminate claims.

If you had COVID, with or without symptoms, and are now finding yourself with a series of symptoms that include cognitive issues, extreme fatigue, exhaustion after minimal exertion (mental or physical), shortness of breath, and similar symptoms, it’s possible that you have Long-COVID and may be impaired as a result. Your first appointment should be with your treating physician who can confirm this diagnosis and offer treatments.

Research on the long-term effects of Long-COVID is underway around the world. A new UK study of more than 2,000 patients after hospitalization presented at this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infections Diseases (published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine) showed that one year later, only one in four (1 in 4) patients feel fully well. These patients were hospitalized with severe cases, but other research shows many patients with the same symptoms: fatigue, muscle pain, poor sleep, and shortness of breath.

The issue is so new that there is not as yet any prescribed treatment, despite the enormous number of people with these symptoms. There is, however, a clinical term: Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC).

What Can You Expect When Filing for Disability Insurance Benefits with a Long-COVID Claim?

We recommend filing your disability claim with care, as we know insurance companies are resistant to any claim, but more so to claims concerning disabilities not immediately backed up by digital images (although those are denied also) or specific markers on lab reports.

Another concern is the tactic of moving a medical disability into a mental health/anxiety disorder. We see this scenario repeatedly. Someone suffering from a chronic disability is likely to have some degree of anxiety and/or depression as they adjust to their changed circumstances. But any mention of anxiety or depression in the treating physician’s notes is enough to have a claims examiner shift your claim out of a physical disability and into a mental/nervous claim. This category of claims is typically covered only for 12 -24 months. By limiting your time on claim, the disability insurance company saves itself hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The Bottom Line about Disability Claims for Long-COVID and ME/CFS

While the science is continuing to develop, claimants are finding themselves in a precarious financial situation. They took out long-term disability insurance policies to protect their income in case they became too ill or injured to work. When you have a chronic disease, especially one that is so new it’s not yet fully understood and there is no prescribed treatment, your claim could very easily be denied.

We invite you to contact our office at 877-583-2524 to discuss your unique situation and learn how our firm can help you. There is no fee and no obligation.

Jason A. Newfield

Written By:

Jason A. Newfield - Disability Insurance Attorney

Jason Newfield is a founding partner of the disability insurance law firm Frankel & Newfield. He has spent the majority of his legal career advocating for the rights of disabled workers. He has lectured other professionals, worked on a Federal Advisory committee, and published many articles in the field of disability insurance claims and litigation.

Learn more about Jason | See Jason’s Publications



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This is about a Social Security Disability claim.

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