The COVID-19 pandemic has affected nearly everyone in the United States in some manner. Many have lost their jobs due to the economic impact, and over 4.19 million people have been infected with the disease. While those that recover typically are able to do so in a two week timeframe, the possible long-term effects of the disease are still something that is being researched.
Due to the unknown nature of the novel coronavirus, officially known as SARS-COV-2, many are wondering how benefits would work for those suffering from the virus. Can I receive social security disability for COVID-19 is a common question asked to our office – with many subsets of related questions that are covered below.
Can I Receive Social Security Disability for COVID-19?
In the most basic sense, COVID-19 itself does not qualify someone for social security disability benefits. The simple reason for this is that the Social Security Administration considers a disability to be a condition that someone has or is expected to have for at least 12 months. Currently, the recovery time for COVID-19 is much shorter than 12 months – typically two weeks – meaning it would not qualify.
However, as stated above, there is still so much unknown about the long-term effects the virus can have on the human body, and its cases vary so greatly in nature. Some individuals barely notice that they have the virus, and others have suffered for months and may have long-lasting symptoms or permanent damage.
In the latter situation, where something like lung damage may have occurred that causes a permanent disability, social security disability could be an option. There is still so much that is being learned about this novel coronavirus, and information will be coming out in the aftermath for years. It is very possible many social security disability cases will come out of permanent damage linked to the disease.
Can I Receive SSD if I Am Forced to Quarantine for COVID-19?
Even if someone infected is not greatly suffering with the worst symptoms of COVID-19, they likely will still have to quarantine and be away from work while they recover from the disease. That time can be difficult, as they may have to go without pay during that time period that they are forced to be away from work.
Even though this is a serious hindrance, it does not qualify someone for social security disability benefits. In these situations, unemployment benefits or paid leave will have to cover the loss of income.
Can I Receive Social Security Disability if I Am High Risk and Can’t Work?
Unfortunately, individuals with pre-existing conditions and individuals above the age of 60 seem to be most at risk for having serious effects or even death if they contract COVID-19. Due to the importance of not contracting the disease, individuals in these high-risk categories may choose not to work in their workplace, especially if it is inside, has poor ventilation, and requires them to work closer than six feet away from other individuals or doesn’t require masks.
While this may be a risky situation for individuals in these scenarios, the social security administration does not include this when assessing who qualifies for social security disability benefits. Individuals need to actually have a condition to qualify, so a hazardous workplace alone is not enough for someone to qualify.