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‘Long COVID’ now protected as disability under federal laws


Long-term symptoms that can linger for months following a COVID-19 infection, or long COVID, can be considered a disability under federal law, the federal Department of Health and Human Services and the Justice Department announced Monday. People whose long COVID qualifies as disability, who are sometimes called “long haulers,” are “entitled to the same protections from discrimination as any other person with a disability” under federal law, the joint statement issued by the agencies said. The statement cites the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “As many of our neighbors find themselves with long-lasting effects from COVID-19, we are committed to making sure that people understand their rights under federal nondiscrimination laws,” Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in a press release. “The Department of Justice will vigorously enforce the ADA and other federal civil rights laws to ensure that as the nation responds to, and recovers from, COVID-19, and that those with disabilities are full and equal partners in that recovery.” The guidance can be found on the DOJ website and on the HHS website.

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