The past year’s health crisis has yielded few answers to why some people show asymptomatic symptoms for the virus and others suffer life-threatening symptoms. In the midst of this emergency, a new type of patient has emerged. Dubbed the ‘long hauler,’ these patients display symptoms of the disease long after they test negative. Though it’s currently unclear what the cause of these ongoing manifestations of the disease are, what’s obvious is that there are quite a few people faced with more significant challenges for returning to work.
Some clinicians believe that as many as 10 percent of those who survive the virus have symptoms that may persist for long periods. This post-viral syndrome has been compared to the after-effects of such diseases as encephalitis and lyme disease. Some of the symptoms of this condition can range from persistent and extreme fatigue to cognitive issues.
The sad scenario for many of those suffering from post-viral syndrome is that there isn’t yet a reliable system devised to identify and acknowledge its symptoms in order to qualify workers for social security disability benefits. Here are some of the ways that clinicians are attempting to get patients to be eligible for disability benefits:
Diagnosis: A medical diagnosis is essential to this process. Those with symptoms should get tested to establish if they’re either positive for the virus, so a doctor can track their progress and the potential onset of post-viral syndrome, or have antibodies present along with post-viral syndrome onset even after the patient tests negative.
Evidence of disability: You need to demonstrate that your symptoms make it difficult to continue in your job, and whether a partial or assisted return to work is possible. Disability can come in the form of pain, fatigue, cognitive issues and physical limitations.
Duration: The patient has to have had an ongoing disability for a period of 12 months or with the potential to extend indefinitely to 12 months. A doctor will have to provide documentation that this condition is likely to last much longer or has already been present, creating a disability for 12 previous months. This requirement is difficult to prove given the time that has elapsed since the virus’s arrival.
The fear surrounding this novel condition, along with all of the complications that come with it, makes the future uncertain for many patients. If you are suffering from post-viral syndrome, you know how crucial it is to receive disability benefits. As the research improves and the designation of this illness changes, you need to reach out and stay up-to-date regarding your rights.