Should COVID-19 Patients With Prolonged Symptoms Receive LTD Benefits?

Coronavirus has greatly transformed the way we live and interact with others around us. As residents of Nova Scotia, we hold high hopes that self-isolation and other containment measures will help flatten the curve and secure our health. With all those restrictions in place, there are still many who are still getting infected by this virus every day. Granted, the majority of them will recover, however there are a few who still struggle with the prolonged symptoms.

These lingering symptoms of COVID remain unknown to many patients, even though they are likely to cause serious health issues and affect a person’s quality of life. One of the questions we often get asked most as personal injury lawyers is whether COVID patients who get these prolonged symptoms can qualify for long-term disability benefits.

Who is eligible for long-term disability coverage?

Typically, you are eligible for long-term disability coverage if you are a permanent or temporary employee. For a permanent employee, you must be hired to work at least 28 hours every two weeks on a permanent basis. If you’re not regularly scheduled to work, you may still qualify for LTD coverage if you work an average of 28 hours a week throughout the year. Temporary and casual employees may not qualify for LTD coverage. Keep in mind that your coverage becomes effective after a specific waiting period, typically three months from the date of employment for permanent employees.

How long will you qualify for LTD benefits?

Long term disability benefits are typically meant to cover you until:

  • Your employment is terminated, or you resign
  • Death
  • Retirement
  • You attain the age of 65

Am I covered if I become disabled because of COVID 19?

Being a very new virus, there’s a lot that experts are yet to uncover regarding COVID-19 symptoms, treatment options and long-term effects. So far, experts agree that patients who suffer mild symptoms of the Coronavirus are less likely to experience any long-term effects. Their symptoms often disappear after a few weeks. On the other hand, patients who experience moderate to severe symptoms of COVID-19 may be left with long-lasting issues months after their recovery. This group of patients are known as “long haulers”. Many of those whose symptoms persist beyond a month are usually healthy prior to getting infected with the virus.

What are some long-term effects of COVID-19?

Common long-term effects of COVID-19 include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • A persistent cough, chest pain and heart palpitations
  • Dizziness and light-headedness
  • Tiredness
  • Taste and smell impairment
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Sleep interferences
  • Depressed mood and anxiety

The symptoms listed above are dangerous long-term effects of COVID -19. These symptoms may appear harmless,  nevertheless,  they end up affecting the heart, lungs and brain. For instance, the persistent coughing, chest pain or shortness of breath can result in lung injury or pneumonia.

The heart palpitations and fatigue can result in serious cardiovascular issues. Symptoms that affect the brain, such as anxiety, the inability to focus and depression can also significantly affect the patient’s work life.

How to apply for long term disability benefits

If you or a loved one is facing any of these long-term effects of COVID-19, LTD benefits can help cover expenses and treatment costs by giving you access to a monthly disability benefit.  Full-time employees can qualify for benefits of up to 70% of their gross monthly income. There’s usually a maximum monthly benefit of $20,000.

However, the benefit you receive from your LTD coverage will be reduced if you receive income or benefit from other sources such as the Canada Pension Plan or any income/benefit from a pension or retirement plan. To determine if you qualify for LTD benefits, you’ll need to review your policy, since each one comes with different terms.

How we can help

Our lawyers can help you access the LTD benefits you need if you’ve been denied or your insurer is making it difficult for you to access the benefits you need. If you’re out of work due to the long-term effects of COVID-19, contact our disability lawyers at 902-425-7330.

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