The aftermath of COVID-19 has left many individuals grappling with prolonged health challenges, collectively termed "Long-Haul COVID" or "Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC)." These persistent symptoms, often resembling Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) (SSA still uses this term) , but now known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) - can severely impact a person's ability to work and function normally. In this blog article, we will explore the complexities of evaluating Long-Haul COVID under the framework of CFS/ME for Social Security Disability benefits and shed light on the importance of objective testing and community support.
Understanding Long-Haul COVID and CFS Symptoms:
Long-Haul COVID and CFS/ME share several common symptoms, including chronic fatigue, persistent cough, brain fog, body aches, mental health challenges, cardiovascular issues, and neurological problems. These overlapping symptoms can make it challenging to differentiate between the two conditions when evaluating disability claims.
Importance of Objective Testing:
To determine eligibility for Social Security Disability benefits, objective medical evidence is vital. Detailed medical records, diagnostic tests, imaging studies, and assessments from healthcare professionals can substantiate the severity and persistence of Long-Haul COVID symptoms. Such evidence is crucial, especially when subjective complaints may not be immediately evident or apparent during clinical evaluations.
Creating Supportive Communities:
Individuals struggling with Long-Haul COVID and CFS/ME often face skepticism and lack of validation for their symptoms, which can exacerbate mental health issues. Building supportive communities is essential to offer a safe space where individuals can share experiences, find understanding, and seek emotional support. These communities can also raise awareness about Long-Haul COVID and its impact on daily life.
Challenges in Evaluation:
Evaluating Long-Haul COVID for Social Security Disability poses unique challenges. The condition is relatively new, and consistent diagnostic criteria are still being developed. The evolving nature of Long-Haul COVID necessitates flexibility in applying existing guidelines and frameworks to accommodate the complexities of this condition.
Referring to CFS Criteria:
Given the symptom overlap between Long-Haul COVID and CFS/ME, Social Security Disability evaluators may utilize the criteria outlined for CFS (Social Security Ruling 14-1p) as a reference point. This allows for a more comprehensive assessment of Long-Haul COVID cases and better understanding of the functional limitations that individuals may experience.
Long-Haul COVID has emerged as a significant health concern with long-lasting and debilitating effects on individuals' lives. When evaluating Long-Haul COVID under the framework of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for Social Security Disability benefits, objective medical evidence becomes pivotal in substantiating claims. Additionally, fostering supportive communities can provide the much-needed validation and understanding that individuals navigating Long-Haul COVID and CFS/ME deserve. By recognizing the impact of these conditions and promoting empathy in disability evaluations, we can ensure that affected individuals receive the necessary support and care they need to cope with Long-Haul COVID's challenges.
This post is dedicated to Greg Peistrup
We carry a heavy emotional connection to this cause. We've witnessed the toll it takes on lives, and we're reminded of a beloved Emergency Room Nurse in Las Vegas, who lost his life due to COVID. Our hearts broke alongside the entire Las Vegas community.
©2023 Noel Anschutz / Professional Advocates, Inc.