July 30, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Reps. Don Beyer (D-VA), author of the bipartisan COVID-19 Long Haulers Act, this week welcomed new guidance from the Biden Administration to support the large community of Americans suffering from long COVID.
“This guidance from the Biden Administration will help Americans dealing with long COVID, and also raise awareness of their condition,” said Beyer. “A truly shocking number who have gotten sick and recovered from their acute infection then subsequently experienced post-viral illness with long term effects that in some cases were worse than the original infection. Now that Congress has funded research to fill in the very large gaps about our basic science understanding of this ailment, our next move must be to help support the patient experience and improve the health care system’s recognition of and response to the long-term symptoms of COVID–19. That is what my bipartisan bill would do.”
The Administration issued announcements from the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Justice, Education, and Labor sharing resources for Americans with long COVID, including accommodations and guidance clarifying rights for health and educational services and supports.
Guidance explaining that long COVID can be a disability under various Federal civil rights laws. The Office for Civil Rights at HHS and Department of Justice released guidance explaining that some individuals with long COVID may have a disability under various civil rights laws that entitles them to protection from discrimination.
Guidance that addresses the needs of children with long COVID who may be children with disabilities. The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued a resource document providing information about schools’ and public agencies’ responsibilities for the provision of services and reasonable modifications to children and students for whom long COVID is a disability.
Access to resources on disability support services. The Administration for Community Living at HHS released a guide to community-based resources that can help people if they now need assistance to live in their own home, go to work or school, or participate in the community. These resources can provide information about what is available locally; help people connect to services, such as transportation and personal care attendants; help arrange reasonable accommodations and access vaccinations; and more.
Information about accommodations in the workplace. The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) at the Department of Labor launched a new webpage that includes resources on long COVID organized by stakeholder groups, such as workers, youth and young adults, and employers. The resources include information on requesting and providing workplace accommodations for individuals with long COVID. In addition, ODEP released a blog discussing the impact of long COVID on workers with disabilities.