The article – Returning to Work: Millions in Uncharted Waters Due to Long-Haul COVID-19 – focuses on the growing number of U.S. workers facing symptoms associated with long COVID and the difficulties they face when seeking needed benefits.
To illustrate these challenges, Healthline turned to Partners Todd Wachtel and Richard Marcolus, who explained that people with long COVID face considerable challenges in accessing leave, unemployment, and disability benefits, especially when they aren’t covered by FMLA or are struggling to hold down jobs while managing symptoms such as fatigue and brain fog. As they told Healthline:
“[W]e had a couple of cases in April and May for essential workers, who were out of work. They couldn’t work because they had the diagnosis, and they weren’t getting paid. They didn’t know whether to collect unemployment, go through worker’s compensation, or collect disability.”
Wachtel and Marcolus noted that because some workers do not qualify for unpaid leave under FMLA and are unable to work because of lingering symptoms, their only option often becomes applying for disability. However, those dealing with the unpredictable symptoms of long COVID, which remains much of a mystery and lacks a global consensus in the medical community, face additional hurdles when it comes to proving disabilities and dealing with long backlogs.
“Unless you’re in a hospital on a ventilator, it’s difficult to prove. You really need a doctor and you’ve got to go through medical testing,” Marcolus told Healthline.
“I think the Social Security Disability system, which is for people who cannot work, is overtaxed already. So, people with long COVID are going to be waiting in line to have their cases heard,” said Wachtel.
Read the full Healthline article here.
Todd Wachtel and Richard Marcolus are New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Workers’ Compensation Attorneys and Partners at Levinson Axelrod, P.A. who focus their practice on helping workers and families recover needed benefits. If you have questions about a workers’ compensation case involving workplace exposure, essential worker COVID-19 exposure, or long-haul COVID, contact our firm to speak with an attorney.