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Does long COVID fall under workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2023 | Workplace Illness, Workplace Safety

While humanity has built resilience against COVID-19 over the past few years, many continue to experience its side effects today. Studies reveal that long COVID symptoms are hurting employee productivity and in some cases, preventing them from returning to work entirely. Given this health crisis, employees might be wondering whether workers’ compensation can provide coverage for long COVID treatments.

How does long COVID impact workers?

Post-acute COVID-19 syndrome, or long COVID, are long-term symptoms and health issues that follow a COVID-19 infection. It can last anywhere from weeks to years and affect anyone who has had the virus, regardless of severity. Its symptoms are diverse, but many suffering from it report how disrupting it is to their everyday lives.

Common symptoms include extreme fatigue, shortness of breath, cognitive difficulties or “brain fog” and persistent cough. Some experience depression or anxiety as well as muscle, joint or chest pain. It can also cause significant damage to the lungs, heart, brain and kidneys. The effects of long COVID are so severe that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recognizes it as a disability.

Employees suffering from long COVID may experience difficulties focusing on their work, completing tasks successfully or even showing up. Many have had to request modifications to their working conditions, such as additional sick leaves, reduced hours or remote work arrangements. Some had to quit or start looking for new employment.

With time, researchers predict that more people will start to show symptoms.

Claiming workers’ comp for long COVID

Although the COVID-19 pandemic prompted nationwide quarantines, many employees still reported to work, risking exposure to the virus. Workers who contracted COVID-19 on the job are eligible for workers’ comp benefits. If those same employees now suffer from long-term COVID symptoms, which is impeding their ability to work, they may be able to extend their workers’ comp benefits.

However, long-term COVID employees who did not immediately file for workers’ comp when they first contracted the virus may face issues.

The world is quickly returning to normalcy as if the pandemic never happened. Unfortunately, those suffering from COVID-19’s long-term effects cannot move on from it just yet. Employees who are having trouble with their workers’ compensation claims may choose to see an attorney.