In 2022 the US Department of Health and Human Services ruled that long COVID is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
If you are applying for disability with SSA, your symptoms must have lasted for at least 12 months to be considered for approval. SSA has issued guidance on what your medical records and other evidence needs to show about your long COVID diagnosis to be considered a disability.
You do NOT have to provide proof of a positive COVID test. Be prepared to list all your related symptoms, both physical and mental. Current knowledge indicates that COVID impacts some individuals in a variety of ways and may affect multiple body systems. If you experienced symptoms that resulted in loss of your job, see if a former co-worker or boss can provide a statement describing the problems they observed you having at work.
Keep track of your symptoms as they come and go or get better or worse. Because symptoms can wax and wane or change frequently, it is important to create the best timeline you can about your situation’s history. If any specific testing was done to identify the reason for symptoms, or to rule out other conditions, keep track of those testing dates. Keep track of your doctor’s appointments and lab work that was done to help your doctor identify what body systems are being affected.
Don’t forget to list out what physical activities you struggle with and why (sitting, standing, walking, lifting/carrying, climbing stairs, bathing/dressing, doing housework, etc). If you struggle with concentration, mood, or cognitive issues, be ready to provide examples of how you or your friends/family notice these problems interfering with you staying organized, remembering tasks/medications/appointments, focusing on what you read or conversations you have, etc.
The medical and legal communities are still learning and researching the long term effects of long COVID and ways to treat the symptoms it causes. However, SSA is now more formally addressing this condition, so reach out to an attorney if you feel you may have a claim for disability based on long COVID.