Biden Administration Releases Long COVID Reports to Support Patients and Researchers

On August 3, 2022, the Biden Administration announced the release of two reports on long COVID: the first report provided a summary of existing government programs that are available to support long COVID patients and the second report established a framework for future research on long COVID. These reports are the result of an executive order that President Biden issued in April, which required the federal government to undertake an inter-agency effort to address long COVID. These reports build upon the existing efforts of the federal government to provide support to long COVID patients, however, they fail to provide solutions for patients who need immediate assistance and whose needs are not addressed by the support options currently available. These reports concede that the federal government does not currently have enough resources to fully address the personal, financial, and societal challenges caused by long COVID.

Click here to review the report detailing Services and Supports for Longer-term Impacts of COVID-19.

Click here to review the long COVID National Research Action Plan.

The reports identify strategies that the federal government will pursue to provide additional support to long COVID patients and streamline research efforts. These reports represent an important first step in the government’s coordinated response to long COVID, but the executive branch is limited in what it can accomplish without support from Congressional appropriations. Furthermore, statutory barriers preclude many reforms to government programs that would allow them to better support long COVID patients. For example, reforms to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program could allow long COVID patients to secure eligibility for benefits more quickly, but those reforms would require action from Congress. Additionally, some long COVID patients have been unable to access support because the administration of certain pandemic relief programs, such as the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, has been left to the states. This has created inequities in Americans’ ability to access financial support.

Despite these challenges, Pandemic Patients celebrates the steps that the Biden Administration is taking to address the needs of long COVID patients. “Coordinating federal agencies’ efforts on long COVID is important,” said Pandemic Patients President, Andrew Wylam. “However, policymakers at every level of government must approach this issue with the urgency it demands. The Biden Administration has signaled that it is taking long COVID seriously, but we must meet this public health emergency with a completely unified government strategy if we hope to relieve the harm caused by COVID-19.”

Pandemic Patients is committed to working with the Biden Administration and members of Congress to identify solutions for patients and survivors of COVID-19 and opportunities to improve the government’s response to long COVID.

J.B. Asked: Can I Appeal a Disability Insurer’s Medical Review?

“I have long COVID and I recently filed a claim for disability insurance benefits through my workplace disability policy. The insurance company relied on a clinician’s review of my medical records to deny my claim. The clinician is employed by the insurance company, they never examined me in-person, and they do not specialize in a field of medicine relevant to my long COVID symptoms. Can I appeal the insurance company’s decision?”

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Long COVID Patients Bring ERISA Lawsuits to Secure Disability Benefits

American employers have experienced troubling economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic as many of their employees have become newly disabled by long COVID. In turn, some employees with long COVID have relied on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to obtain the benefits they are entitled to under their employers’ benefit plans.

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FMLA Shields Long COVID Patients from Workplace Retaliation

The coronavirus pandemic has jeopardized the health of countless American workers and has caused many to take medical leave to following an infection with COVID-19. For some people, COVID-19 can cause severe illness, which can qualify as a serious health condition under the FMLA. Unfortunately, some employers have not respected the FMLA rights of their employees, which has resulted in several lawsuits being brought on their behalf.

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