The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion Covid long-haulers deserve help

A cardiologist talks to a long-covid patient March 7 in Humble, Tex. (Mark Felix for The Washington Post)

The Aug. 15 editorial “Long covid’s long arm” highlighted many studies about the prevalence and longevity of long-covid symptoms, but it did not present the solution to long-haulers who, as a result of their condition, are unable to work: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI).

Determining eligibility and applying for SSDI are the logical next steps for long-haulers affected for a year or more and who need financial security. The Biden administration categorized long covid as a disability under the Americans With Disabilities Act. This means workers (many with previously manageable chronic conditions) suffering from long-covid symptoms, to the extent that they meet the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability, can apply for SSDI.

Many of long covid’s medical mysteries are still to be uncovered. Studies suggest symptoms lingered in about 1 in 8 people, while other studies found 1 in 5 had persistent symptoms. But we do know that long-covid symptoms are forcing people out of the workforce. As medical researchers continue working to understand long covid, long-haulers who can’t work as a result should take action. They should ensure they have documented their symptoms with their doctor and seek help in obtaining SSDI benefits as a short- or long-term solution.

James F. Allsup, Belleville, Ill.

The writer is founder and chief executive of Allsup, a nationwide provider of services for those with disabilities.