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Biden says some qualify for federal disability resources

U.S. President Joe Biden signs a proclamation on the anniversary of the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), as does artist (LR) Tyree Brown, Senator Pat Leahy (D-VT), former Representative Tony Coelho (D-CA), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) look out at the White House Rose Garden on July 26, 2021 in Washington, DC.

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On Monday, President Joe Biden announced that some Americans experiencing long-term effects of Covid may qualify for disability resources and protection from the federal government.

The announcement came as president marked the 31st anniversary of the American Disability Act in a speech at the White House Palace with Vice President Kamala Harris. It also comes as the long-term symptoms of the virus, what some call “long covid,” forming to be a major public health problem.

“We are bringing the agencies together to ensure that Americans with long-term Covid disabilities, who have a disability, have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law,” Biden said during his remarks.

Under guidance issued by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice, Covid can long qualify as invalid under federal civil rights law if it “substantially limits one or more major life activities.”

This means that people with long-term Covid symptoms growing up in a disability are entitled to resources and protection from discrimination under federal disability laws.

These protections include providing additional time for a test for students with difficulty concentrating, providing refueling assistance at a gas station for a client with joint or muscle pain, and allowing a person with vertigo to be accompanied by a pet. service. Businesses and state or local governments may also be required to make other changes that address a person’s long-term Covid symptoms elevating a disability.

An individual assessment is needed to determine if a person with Covid has long qualified for such protections and resources, according to the guide.

Long Covid describes a wide range of new or ongoing symptoms that can follow four or more weeks after a Covid infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This includes fatigue and tiredness, joint or muscle pain, loss of taste or odor and fever, among other symptoms.

Some people may also experience damage to multiple organs including the heart, lungs, kidneys, skin and brain, according to the CDC. But the long-term symptoms of Covid are not consistent and it is not known how many people have the condition.

The Biden administration has also published a new guide that addresses the needs of children with long-term Covid who may have disabilities. The guidance, issued in the Department of Education, describes how schools and public agencies can provide services to children and students with long-term Covid disability.

Other efforts to support Americans with Covid long include a new guide issued by HHS that describes community-based resources for those in need, and a new website launched by the Department of Labor that includes resources for workers with Covid. Covid long, as information on benefits for employees.

Most people who contract Covid recover within a few weeks, but reports of long-term Covid symptoms have grown in Americans.

Research published by FAIR Health last month found that approximately 23% of nearly 2 million Covid patients developed at least one “persistent or new” medical condition more than four weeks after their initial diagnosis.


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