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What is long COVID? 

Long COVID is a condition that encompasses physical and/or psychological symptoms lasting more than 12 weeks after an initial infection.   

In recent months, the disabling condition has been in the news as the long-term implications of COVID-19 are becoming evident as millions of people have not only not returned to their pre-COVID health but continue to suffer from an array of debilitating symptoms. It appears that long COVID can strike anyone, including the young and healthy, including those who exhibited only mild symptoms at the time of the infection. 

Is long COVID viewed as a disability in the eyes of the law? 

Unfortunately there is no single diagnostic test that can confirm that an individual is suffering from long COVID.  Given its apparent pervasiveness and the fact that it is an “invisible disease”, disability insurers are apt to deny disability coverage on grounds of “insufficient medical evidence”. 

What can I do if my disability claim for long COVID is denied? 

So, what should you do if your claim is denied by your insurer?   

  • First you need to build your case by recording your physical and mental symptoms.  Write them down, along with their severity and frequency and show the list to your doctor, who will then record them.   
  • Secondly, ask your doctor for referrals to appropriate specialists who can perform tests to corroborate your symptoms.  These tests might include tests to show your lung function, or presence of antibodies. 
  • If you are denied when you first apply, don’t give up.  Insurers expect that most claimants will not pursue an appeal. Appeal the denial and see a lawyer. Many appeals are successful and as the science develops, the insurers will have no choice but to approve these claims.  

If you have questions about disability claims, get in touch with our team of experienced lawyers today. 


This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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