CLEVELAND (WJW) — Georgia Linders lives with the after-effects of COVID every day, plagued by fevers and fatigue, she experiences what has been called long haul or long COVID.
“One big thing is trying not to feel guilty for needing the benefits because you know I had been at my job for 10 years and I didn’t plan on not working,” she said.
Diagnosed with chronic fatigue and a mild neurocognitive disorder, she went on short and long-term disability before having to eventually leave a job she loved.
“I didn’t realize that my brain was actually being slow and um, just like this, like my brain will slow down sometimes and I’ll forget what I’m saying and It’s kind of upsetting.”
Last week, President Biden announced that people with serious long-term COVID cases could qualify for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We’re bringing agencies together to make sure Americans with long COVID who have a disability, have access to the rights and resources that are due under the disability law.”
Attorney Ric Selby is the managing partner at northeast Ohio firm Dworken and Bernstein.
“There are two basic protections. One, you can’t be discriminated against because you have that condition.”
Secondly, Selby says the employer has to provide reasonable accommodations for the employee that would allow them to perform their job without creating an undue burden.
“One of the things that jumps to mind is under certain circumstances a leave of absence for some specified period of time may be a reasonable accommodation. Under some circumstances working from home or remotely may be a reasonable accommodation.”
Georgia is now in the process of applying for social security disability insurance. When it comes to ADA protection, her fear is the difficulty employees could face long term.
“I am worried about people that have inflammation in their brain and wouldn’t be able to keep up with their job.”
Still, Georgia says the Biden administration’s acknowledgment of the challenges long COVID patients face every day is important.
“It was incredibly validating just to hear him say it because we’ve been screaming for so long, don’t forget about us, don’t forget about us.”