On February 11, 2022, Juliana Reno was quoted in SHRM on whether individuals with severe COVID-19 symptoms that last for months, known as "COVID-19 long haulers," are covered by a company’s long-term disability benefits.
"Our understanding of long-haul COVID is in its infancy, medically speaking," Reno said. For long-term disability purposes, "claimants may not be able to prove that they have the condition, that their symptoms are real, or that their symptoms are truly debilitating."
Almost all long-term disability policies require the claimant to be under the regular care of a physician, noted Reno. "Personal narratives are insufficient—the claimant should have medical records showing ongoing examination and treatment."
Reno said a specific diagnosis of long-haul COVID-19 is helpful for claiming coverage under long-term disability benefits. "If possible, the treating physician should explain the differential diagnoses, that is, the steps that were taken to rule out other potential causes."
The claimant's symptoms should be articulated by the treating physician. "If possible, these should be supported by appropriate testing. For example, if the patient complains of memory loss and inability to concentrate, neurologic or cognitive function testing may be appropriate," she said.
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