EEOC Benefits Extended to COVID-19
People with COVID-19 can qualify for disability payments under three disability definitions in the Americans with Disabilities Act after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) supplemented their guidance in December.
“This was a necessary action because of how we are seeing people being affected from COVID-19 long term,” said Alan Hubbard, NTI’s Chief Operating Officer. “This is happening in real-time as people can’t go back to work and/or resume their past activities. This move will help give help to a lot of people who need it.” A nonprofit organization, NTI helps Americans with disabilities,” family caregivers and veterans obtain work-at-home jobs with free job training and placement.
People who have COVID-19 can qualify for payment if their physical or mental impairment limits one or two major activities or if they have a pre-existing condition that is increased by the virus, according to the National Law Review.
An individual assessment is needed, according to the EEOC, to determine whether a person is affected by COVID-19 and is limited as a result. They point out that a person who is experiencing shortness of breath, dizziness, heart palpitations, chest pains, shortness of breath, brain fog, or ongoing intermittent headaches may qualify as a disability. If you have pre-existing conditions worsened by the virus, you may qualify for a disability payment.
“We have seen the need to get help for people with COVID-19,” said Hubbard. “While they can’t go back to work, this will allow them to able to have help when they need it the most. When they can go back to work, it might not be in the same type of position or be able to take place out of the home. That’s why it is also important to have training programs and job placements, which NTI and other organizations offer.”
Since the emergence of COVID-19, more people have become disabled.
“We certainly have seen an increase of claims because of COVID-related issues, including long haulers,” said T.J. Geist, principal advocate at Allsup, which represents Social Security disability claimants, in a CNBC article.
Allowing people who have COVID-19 to qualify for disability payments will have a major impact for them. In the CNBC article, a 2020 Government Accountability Office reports says that 1.3% of the applicants filed bankruptcy while on appeals, while 1.2% died before getting benefits.
In its announcement, the ECOC also said employers must be aware that they need to provide flexible accommodations including scheduling changes, teleworking, special equipment, and physical modifications.
(NTI, a nonprofit organization, has been helping Americans with disabilities find at-home employment with free training and job placement services for more than 25 years. They also help people with disabilities who aren’t receiving benefits, family caregivers, and veterans. To register, go to www.ntiathome.org).
“This was a necessary action because of how we are seeing people being affected from COVID-19 long term.”