LONG COVID: WORKERS’ COMPENSATION COVERAGE AND BENEFITS
In the spring of 2020, New York faced a fast-moving health crisis with the onset of COVID-19 and responded quickly with all the means at its disposal. As the winter of 2022 approaches, New York is facing a slow-moving health crisis, but has brought none of the urgency that is needed to address the problem. As a result, workers who contracted COVID must take action to protect themselves – and the data on that front is alarming.
Nearly five million New Yorkers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 (the real total is almost certainly much higher). Over half of the cases involved working adults, and research suggests that about one in five of them contracted COVID as the result of a workplace exposure. This means that between 300,000 and 500,000 New York workers could and should have filed for workers’ compensation for work-related COVID. Shockingly, the state Workers’ Compensation Board has received less than 40,000 claims and has compensated less than 4,000 workers.
Meanwhile, there is increasing scientific evidence that even mild cases of the COVID virus can result in the long-lasting symptoms and chronic medical problems that are often described as “long COVID.” Workers who filed and succeeded in claims for work-related COVID will be covered for wage loss and medical treatment by the workers’ compensation system. Those who did not will be left unprotected.
Read our guide to questions and answers about long COVID here. Read Here