The U.S Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S Department of Health and Human Services (DHHR) have teamed up to mandate that ‘long COVID’ is a disability, and anyone living with the symptoms should be permitted the accommodations and protections from discrimination afforded under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
It has been acknowledged that long COVID, the name given to the persistent and chronic symptoms that some people suffer from long after an initial COVID infection has passed, causes enough debilitating issues to substantially affect one or more major life activities. This means that the lung damage and the brain fogs that many experience can be considered to respectively limit breathing and concentration- two activities that are definitely a major part of everyday life.
The recognition of this disability means that anyone with long COVID can now request and expect to receive accommodations at work and in general life. So, for example, the shortness of breath issue can mean that you could reasonably request that you be allowed to limit strenuous activity; a brain fog may allow for support or extra time when taking a test.
This step by the two agencies is certainly a positive one for those who are undergoing such issues caused by this novel experience but it doesn’t yet mean that one anyone can expect to become eligible for SSDI or SSI if one has only long COVID. For one, it is still so recent that it is yet to be established if it will be a disability that is expected to last more than twelve months or, heaven forbid, end in death.
You can read the official guidance report here: Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557