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Can You Receive Short-term Disability Insurance Benefits if you Suffer from COVID-19?

Much of the conversation about the coronavirus pandemic has concerned the numbers of people who have contracted the illness, along with figures for hospitalizations and deaths. Despite the grim stories, however, most of the individuals afflicted with COVID-19 do recover. Each case is unique and the healing process could take weeks, or even months, forcing some to miss work for an extended period.

With economic fear and uncertainty gripping the country, you should be aware of the coverage you might have through a short-term disability plan provided by your employer or one that you purchased on your own. You might be able to obtain benefits arising from your coronavirus symptoms if:

  • You contracted COVID-19 — In between very mild or asymptomatic cases and those requiring intensive care, there have been cases that keep people in bed for two weeks and take a month or more to fully recover from. If you had to miss work due to illness and have documentation from a doctor ordering you to isolate yourself, you might qualify for short-term disability.
  • Your self-quarantine was ordered by a doctor — Many people around the world have been ordered to stay at home due to the pandemic, but in the United States, short-term disability is only covered if a doctor directed you to miss work. A general shutdown triggered by a government quarantine will not suffice.
  • You have private insurance — Unlike Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI), which covers individuals with permanent disabilities, this is not a government program. You may have insurance as part of your employee benefits package and not even be aware of it. Check with your company’s human resources department or look up your benefits online to see if they include a disability policy.

Typically, a waiting period of around 14 days must pass for qualifying claimants to start receiving payments. Coverage lasts for three to six months in most cases.

Those who don’t have short-term disability coverage might be eligible for other types of relief, such as stimulus payments or unemployment insurance if they’ve been dismissed from their job. Someone who suffers long-term or permanent damage likely to last at least 12 months as a result of contracting COVID-19 can apply for SSDI benefits. Whatever your situation entails, working with an established disability attorney will give you the support you need to pursue the benefits you deserve.

Contact a knowledgeable disability benefits lawyer to discuss your options 

Coyne, von Kühn, Brady & Fries, LLC represents clients in various types of disability matters. For a consultation with an experienced attorney, please call 203.378.7100 or contact the firm online


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