June 14, 2022

Research Reveals Long COVID Symptoms Persist More Than A Year After Onset, Spotlights Need For SSDI Benefits, Allsup Reports

Allsup discusses importance of applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for people with severe complications from prolonged COVID-19 symptoms

Belleville, Illinois — June 14, 2022 A new study showing that long-haul COVID symptoms can persist 15 months after onset, spotlights the importance of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits for workers affected by severe illness and related complications, according to Allsup, the nation’s premier disability representation company.  

The study by Northwestern Medicine and published in the Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology found that people with long-haul COVID continue to experience symptoms such as brain fog, headache, dizziness and fatigue an average of 15 months after first becoming ill. Research conducted by Northwestern’s Neuro COVID-19 clinic further showed that none of the 52 long-haulers participating in the study were ever hospitalized, yet still experienced symptoms many months later.  

Of the 52 patients who completed the study:

  • Average age was 43.
  • 73% were female.
  • 77% received the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Allsup, which provides SSDI and veterans disability appeal services, has documented an increase in SSDI claims related to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic. “We have seen a slow, steady rise in the number of SSDI claims for those individuals who are no longer able to work due to the coronavirus,” said T.J. Geist, Allsup Principal Advocate.

“It’s vital to seek SSDI help right away if you are experiencing conditions resulting from the debilitating effects of this virus, or complications due to existing medical issues you had before your COVID diagnosis, and had to stop working,” Geist explained.  

While patients in the study reported improvements in their recovery, cognitive function and fatigue, the overall quality of life measures remained lower than the average population. Loss of taste and smell decreased over time, but heart rate and blood pressure variation and gastrointestinal symptoms increased.   

The Social Security Administration (SSA), which oversees the SSDI program, recognizes these factors regarding COVID-related claims when reviewing SSDI applications:

  • Lung, heart, kidney, neurological and circulatory damage.
  • Worsening impact on pre-existing physical and mental impairments.]
  • Respiratory, cognitive, circulatory and other chronic disorders resulting from infection. 

Researchers estimate that long COVID may affect up to 30% or an estimated 24 million people in the U.S.  

“If people are suffering from long COVID and are unable to work, we strongly recommend they start the SSDI application process immediately with representation.

Allsup has helped more than 350,000 individuals with disabilities obtain SSDI benefits for over 38 years,” Geist said. “Our experts are at the forefront of working with COVID-related claims and know how to convey the impact of life-altering symptoms like chronic brain fog and fatigue.” 

In addition to monthly cash income, benefits with SSDI include:

  • Dependent benefits – for children under the age of 18.
  • Return-to-work incentives – free assistance returning to work while protecting SSDI benefits.
  • Medicare benefits – effective 24 months after SSDI cash benefits begin.
  • Retirement benefits protection – SSDI approval freezes earnings records resulting in higher Social Security retirement income.
  • COBRA extension – extended health insurance up to an additional 11 months.

Learn more about the basics of SSDI, including eligibility criteria, by visiting SSDI 101 before you apply.  

To hear from an Allsup customer about his experience, watch this video.

 Help with SSDI Claims and Appeals

For more information about applying for SSDI benefits, filing your appeal if you’re denied, or to see if you are eligible, visit Allsup.com/long-covid or call 1-800-678-3276.

Allsup and its subsidiaries provide nationwide Social Security disability, veterans disability appeal, return to work, and healthcare benefits services for individuals, their employers and insurance carriers. Allsup professionals deliver specialized services supporting people with disabilities and seniors so they may lead lives that are as financially secure and as healthy as possible. Founded in 1984, the company is based in Belleville, Illinois, near St. Louis. Learn more at Allsup.com and @Allsup or download a free PDF of Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance: Getting It Right The First Time.