US President Joe Biden said Monday that those who suffer from long-term COVID-19 symptoms could qualify for disability support under the Americans with Disabilities Act and receive additional help and resources.
“Many Americans who seemingly recover from the virus still face lingering challenges like breathing problems, brain fog, chronic pain, and fatigue,” he said in his address at the Rose Garden commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“These conditions can sometimes rise to the level of a disability,” he added.
“Long COVID” is defined as “new or ongoing symptoms” that last for weeks or months, even after recovering from COVID-19, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A study said that as many as one in three of those infected with COVID-19 could suffer from long-term effects after recovery, reported Insider.
The US has recorded more than 34 million COVID-19 cases as of time of writing, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
But not everyone who suffers from protracted COVID-19 symptoms would qualify for disability, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice noted.
“An individualized assessment is necessary to determine whether a person’s long COVID condition or any of its symptoms substantially limits a major life activity,” it said in guidance published on Monday.
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act passed in 1990, it is illegal to discriminate against persons with disabilities. The act guarantees those with disabilities equal opportunities in areas such as employment, housing, and transportation.
There are more than 60 million adults in the US living with disabilities, according to the CDC.