Long COVID patients struggle to get assistance
Millions of Americans suffering from fatigue, nervous system disorders and other long-term health effects of COVID aren't getting public assistance to offset rising medical costs and lost income, an NBC News investigation found.
Why it matters: Taxpayer-funded unemployment insurance and long-term disability insurance aren't options for most Americans with long COVID, who may be too sick to work but not ready to quit the workforce.
Details: More than 1,000 people who responded to an NBC News survey said that long COVID severely affected their ability to work or left them unable to work at all. Nearly 600 said they encountered difficulties applying for disability benefits.
By the numbers: An estimated 7 to 23 million Americans have experienced long COVID, a catch-all term covering some 200 symptoms ranging from memory loss to chest pain, per NBC.
The bottom line: It could come down to luck of the draw whether insurers accept a clinical opinion that a patient needs time away from work. Experts and patients say more needs to be done, including better documenting how many people are suffering symptoms while fighting the system.