I have ongoing health issues after getting COVID-19. Can I file a long-term disability claim?

Carer giving tea to patient in bed with mask on

The coronavirus epidemic has impacted the way we live and work in significant ways.

As we await a vaccine, the hope is that, with appropriate self-isolation and safety measures, Ontarians will be able to flatten the curve, stay healthy and get “back to business” within a new normal.

But even with precautions in place, many across Ontario have been infected by this insidious virus. And while the majority of those infected will recover, some people will struggle with lingering health effects and potentially serious ongoing symptoms.

For anyone struggling with ongoing health issues due to COVID-19, work might not only be difficult, it may be nearly impossible.

And if you can’t work, the issue of how you will be able to financially support yourself and your family looms large.

Long-term disability insurance benefits can be extremely helpful in these situations. But are you eligible to receive benefits?

Long-term effects of COVID-19

With the coronavirus pandemic a relatively new reality, scientists and doctors continue to discover its full range of symptoms, treatments and long-term impact.

Still, experts have been able to learn some important information relating to COVID-19 patients.

The general consensus is that patients with mild cases of the illness should not anticipate any long-term effects.

recent study found that recovered patients with moderate-to-severe cases of COVID-19, however, had lasting issues with liver function.

They’ve also found long-term damage to the heart and to lungs.

For those who need ICU care and ventilators, it is possible that lung damage and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) – a severe lung condition – could also result in longer term problems.

Neurologic symptoms are possible too.

According to a recent study, neurologic symptoms were seen in 36% of 214 COVID-19 patients in China, including dizziness, headache, and taste and smell impairment.

Applying for long-term disability (LTD) benefits

LTD coverage is designed to help you cover your expenses and treatment while recovering from an illness or disability by providing a monthly disability benefit.

In order to qualify, applicants need to meet specific criteria outlined in their disability policy.  Each LTD policy is different. Qualifying for benefits is important to your health and financial wellbeing. That is why it is important to ensure you have a lawyer help you if your benefits have been denied, or your insurer is giving you the run-around.

If you have any questions about COVID-19 and short or long term disability benefits, or if your disability benefits have been denied, contact disability lawyer Brad Moscato by e-mail at bmoscato@hshlawyers.com or by phone at 416-646-7655. Brad is the past chair of the LTD Section, Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. He is a partner at Howie, Sacks & Henry LLP and is dedicated to pursuing the rights of disabled and injured people throughout Ontario.

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