Long-Covid syndrome is a debilitating condition that affects individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 but continue to experience symptoms for weeks or months after the contagious period has resolved. These symptoms can include fatigue, brain fog, shortness of breath, chest pain, and headaches, among others.
There has been an increasing spotlight on long covid syndrome in the months post-pandemic, raising awareness of those still suffering and petitioning the Government to further recognise this condition in their Government aid payments. A recent ABC article discusses invisible symptoms of illnesses, similar to those of long-covid, and how they should be taken more seriously. In the case highlighted in the article, Ms Lebski was unable to be approved for Government jobseeker payments to support her home business which was created as a way to work from home, whilst suffering from chronic fatigue-like symptoms. Between paying for medical appointments, rent and specialists, her and her husband are struggling to live month to month – despite the Government deeming he earns over the income threshold for the pair to qualify for payments.
Anne Wilson, the CEO of Emerge Australia — a support group for Australians living with chronic fatigue syndrome says greater access to government support like Medicare, NDIS and the disability pension is needed for Australians in similar situations. The article also points out that long-covid numbers will only continue to grow and affect the lives of more Australians, with modelling suggesting half a million people in the country could be living with long COVID by the end of the year.
Long-covid syndrome has been recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a condition in its own right, separate from COVID-19 – and is increasingly being recognised as a permanent disability under TPD (total and permanent disability) insurance criteria. TPD insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides a lump sum payment in the event you are affected by permanent disability and are unable to work. In order to qualify for a TPD claim, an individual must meet certain criteria, which typically includes being unable to perform a certain number of activities of daily living. In the case of long covid – brain fog, extreme fatigue and chest pain are just some of the symptoms which would stop you from performing normal daily tasks – especially in the workplace.
Whilst long COVID-syndrome has a range of physically taxing symptoms, it can also have a huge impact on an individual’s mental health. Individuals with long COVID-syndrome may experience anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of their prolonged illness. These mental health conditions can further affect an individual’s ability to work.
While Centrelink payments may be available for individuals who are unable to work due to a permanent disability, TPD insurance can provide additional financial support for those who are not eligible for Centrelink payments, other government payments, or those whose payments are insufficient to cover their expenses. TPD insurance can provide a lump sum payment that can be used to cover expenses such as medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and living costs.