WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced on Monday that ‘long Covid’, a condition where long-term Covid-19 symptoms linger in a person’s body long after the actual virus from their system, can be claimed as a disability under federal law.
Speaking from the Rose Garden, Biden announced the news on the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a law that protects people with disabilities from discrimination.
“We’re bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long Covid who have a disability have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law, which includes accommodations and services in the workplace and school, and our health care system so they can live their lives in dignity,” Biden said.
Following the announcement, the Departments of Health and Human Services, Justice, Education, and Labor all released guidelines to help those individuals experiencing effects of long-term Covid work through the process to receive federal benefits.
According to the guidance, ‘long Covid’ does not automatically qualify as a disability. Instead, 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.”
The majority of those infected with Covid recover but others suffer from lingering effects such as joint pain, fevers, fatigue, double vision and hair loss.
Monday’s Rose Garden event was to mark the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Biden was a co-sponsor of the legislation when he was a senator.
“31 years ago after its passage, many Americans have never lived in a world without the ADA,” Biden said. “We passed the ADA and made a commitment to building a nation for all of us, all of us. Perhaps most importantly, we did it together. This was a Democratic bill signed by a Republican president.”