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Long Covid patients share their struggles with disability coverage


35-year-old Michael Briand first got sick with Covid in September 2020. “I never got better,” he said in a sit-down interview with CNBC.

“I had symptoms that stayed with me and are still with me.”

Briand, who was working at Wells Fargo in San Antonio at the time, received short-term and then long-term disability, but was later denied Social Security Disability Insurance, or SSDI.

Although the Biden administration is looking to end the health emergency over the next few monthsmany get sick but survive Corona virus infection covid suffer from long-term health problems, research shows. And now the same 23 million Americans have what is considered prolonged Covid, according to recent estimates from the US Department of Health and Human Services. As much as how much 4 million people likely to be out of work due to illness, according to a separate report by the Brookings Institution.

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Here are some more stories about the complexities and consequences of the long Covid:

Long Covid is ‘something invisible’

Michael Briand, who is here with his family, first contracted Covid in September 2020.

Source: Michael Bryant

Long Covid can be considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Actor the ADA, but getting approved for disability insurance is difficult.

Many are regularly denied even though they cannot work because they cannot get the necessary documents from specialist doctors. These specialists must make a diagnosis and prognosis, which may be difficult to determine for some symptoms, such as cognitive dysfunction, or for symptoms that change over time, HHS found.

“I had chest pains,” Briand said. “I had a fatigue that wouldn’t go away.” And yet Briand’s condition is hard to measure and harder to prove.

I’m just trying to manage my symptoms.

“That’s probably the hardest thing in the long run of Covid is to get people to believe or understand because it’s not like a broken arm that I can show them,” he said. – This is something invisible.

Briand is currently on unpaid leave from his current employer, Citibank, although the husband and father of two says he is finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

“I don’t really have a… life,” he said. “I’m just trying to manage my symptoms.”

“I don’t want to be disabled”

Jennifer Remy, 49, was also unable to return to work.

Rami worked as a nurse in San Antonio for 30 years before contracting Covid in 2020. After the first symptoms, she developed a rare disease called auto-immune autonomic ganglionopathy.

“I don’t want to have a disability,” she said. “I would give anything if I had a day in my life to work the way I used to be.”

And yet Raimi suffers from brain fog, anxiety and extreme fatigue. After work, “I would just stop at a gas station or a Walgreens and sleep in the car for an hour to get home,” she said. – And it was seven miles.

Jennifer Remy was a nurse and a marathon runner before contracting Covid.

Source: Jennifer Remy

Rami was also denied SSDI.

Dr. Monica Verdusca-Gutierrez, professor and chair of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, called Ramey’s denial of disability benefits “staggering.”

“She’s someone who was a 100-mile-an-hour nurse before that, and she’s worked in a cardiac unit, run several half marathons and marathons, and climbed mountains,” Verdusca-Gutierrez said.

Verdusca-Gutierrez works primarily with Covid patients, including Ramey and Bryand, through the long-term Covid clinic she opened in 2020. She also spends a lot of time on disability applications.

Of the long-term Covid patients she has seen, she said, only 2 out of 50 who applied for SSDI were approved.

To date, the Social Security Administration has listed about 44,000 disability claims nationally that include Covid as one of the medical conditions, according to agency spokeswoman Nicole Tiegeman, which represents just 1% of all disability claims received by the agency.

To be approved, “a person must have a medical condition or combination of medical conditions that prevents the person from working and is expected to last at least one year or result in death,” Tiegeman said.

“Disability assessment is based on functional limitations that affect a person’s ability to work, not on a diagnosis,” she added.

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