On July 26, the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Biden Administration announced that long COVID can be considered a disability under civil rights laws. They released a package of guidance and resources to support individuals experiencing the long-term symptoms of COVID-19. This includes:
- Guidance explaining that long COVID can be a disability under various Federal civil rights laws
- Guidance that addresses the needs of children with long COVID who may be children with disabilities
- Access to resources on disability support services
- Information about accommodations in the workplace
Academy Efforts Leading to this Announcement
AAPM&R has been continuously advocating to the Administration to implement a comprehensive national plan focused on the needs of millions of individuals suffering from the long-term symptoms of COVID-19/PASC (Post-Acute Sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 infection). We have advocated that this plan needs to include a commitment to three major components:
- Resources to build necessary infrastructure to meet this crisis
- Equitable access to care for patients, which includes access to disability benefits
- Research to advance medical understanding of long COVID
Thanks to our multi-pronged efforts pushing the Administration to address PASC, we met with several organizations, including the White House Domestic Policy Council, where we advocated for a national plan to help each PASC patient get access to the multidisciplinary care they need to reach their highest levels of recovery, including access to disability benefits. In addition, we provided testimony and comments to federal offices as well as led a sign-on letter that 80+ organizations have supported.
This newly released package of guidance and resources is a result of our meetings/testimony and is a great step in the right direction!
We look forward to continuing our work and advocacy efforts on a national plan that addresses all components from our initial call to action including infrastructure and health equity issues.
We’ve also established a multi-disciplinary PASC collaborative of experts to develop clinical guidance to improve quality-of-care as well as formal education and resources to improve experience-of-care and health equity. Our collaborative will be releasing this guidance on a rolling basis, and a few will be published very soon. Learn more about our efforts and stay tuned for updates on our guidance statements.