Long after the pandemic ends, its effects on our system will be felt in a number of ways, including the increase in the number of Social Security disability claims connected to Covid.
Long Covid is now a confirmed health problem for many Covid survivors, and the long term implications of this condition are only now becoming clear. Long Covid is a term used to refer to a number of symptoms that many Covid sufferers experience after they recover from the infection. The symptoms range from extreme fatigue, respiratory problems like shortness of breath and breathing difficulties, to gastrointestinal problems. Covid sufferers seem to also have a higher risk of developing diabetes and heart problems.
Policy makers warn that long Covid could be the single biggest catalyst for an increase in disability claims over the next few years. They warn that it is important for the Social Security Administration to plan for a larger number of people who are unable to work at their jobs because of their symptoms. Data indicates that many Covid survivors have still not returned to their jobs even months after recovery. Some continue to be under oxygen support for months after returning home. There is still not enough data to ascertain how many such survivors are in the population, but a safe guess is in the millions. Long Covid -related symptoms manifest differently in different people, making the task of determining patterns very challenging.
We need to begin planning for a deluge of disability claims over the next few years. This occurs during a time when the disability benefits system is already strained and unable to handle additional burdens without bold policy changes.