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The Biden administration promised government support to those who have developed long COVID, but patient advocates say that accessing the assistance is time-consuming, confusing and unsupported.
When Josephine Cabrera Taveras was infected with COVID-19 in spring 2020, she didn’t anticipate that the virus would knock her out of work for two years and put her family at risk for eviction.
Taveras, a mother of two in Brooklyn, New York, said her bout with long COVID has meant dealing with debilitating symptoms, ranging from breathing difficulties to arthritis, that have prevented her from returning to her job as a nanny. Unable to work — and without access to Social Security Disability Insurance or other government help — Taveras and her family face a looming pile of bills.
“We are in the midst of possibly losing our apartment because we’re behind on rent,” said Taveras, 32. Her application for Social Security disability assistance, submitted last fall, was rejected, but she is appealing.
Like many others with long COVID, Taveras has fallen through the cracks of a system that was time-consuming and difficult to navigate even before the COVID-19 pandemic. People are facing yearslong wait times, insufficient legal support, and a lack of clear guidance on how to prove they are disabled — compounded by the challenges of a medical system that does not have a uniform process for diagnosing long COVID, according to health experts and disability attorneys.