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Do People Who Have Long-Term COVID-19 Symptoms Qualify For Disability Benefits?

  February 3, 2021 | By NPR

AILSA CHANG, HOST: Some people who survive COVID-19 have debilitating symptoms many months later. As scientists scramble to explain what is going on and how to help, disability advocates are also scrambling. They’re trying to figure out whether these so-called long-haulers will qualify for disability benefits. Gabrielle Emanuel of member station GBH (ph) in Boston reports.

GABRIELLE EMANUEL, BYLINE: When COVID first appeared, Jodee Pineau-Chaisson was working as the director of social services for a nursing home in western Massachusetts. It wasn’t long before her residents were getting sick.

JODEE PINEAU-CHAISSON: I was asked to go on to the COVID units to do FaceTime calls so they could say goodbye to their family members.

EMANUEL: She was scared, but she felt like she owed it to the residents. So at 55, with no preexisting conditions, she put on a mask and a white jumpsuit and she did it. Three days later, she had COVID. Now, it’s been 10 months, and she’s still dealing with devastating symptoms. She says she has memory problems, body pain, heart palpitations, depression, chronic fatigue.

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