Disability insurance payments (Social Security Disability) are available to anyone who qualifies for payments and is unable to work at the same level or at all. COVID-19 attacks the lungs and, in some instances, can cause permanent damage. Therefore, it is possible that after contracting COVID-19 that some workers may be unable to return to their regular job and will suffer a reduction in income, which should qualify them for disability benefits.

What Does COVID-19 do to the Lungs?

COVID-19 is a disease caused by the novel coronavirus. COVID-19 is such a problem for public health officials because it has (1) a long incubation period; (2) it can be asymptomatic (meaning people can have it but not know and therefore spread it before getting sick); and (3) symptoms are not consistent. Some people experience nothing; others are hospitalized and experience severe lung damage.

Specifically, COVID-19 can cause lung complications such as acute respiratory distress syndrome, pneumonia, and sepsis (which can affect other organs as well).

Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)

ARDS is a severe lung disease that is caused by complications related to pneumonia. Lungs are essentially air sacs which expand and contract as air is taken in. ARDS is a condition in which they become filled with fluid, which leaks from blood cells in the lungs. Over time, ARDS results in shortness of breath and, eventually, lung failure. Patients with ARDS often cannot breathe on their own and must rely on a ventilator. ARDS can be fatal and result in permanent lung damage if not treated in time.


Pneumonia is a condition in which the lungs fill with fluids, which leads to breathing difficulties. Patients with severe pneumonia also often require ventilators to breathe. Pneumonia usually affects only one lung. However, pneumonia caused by COVID-19 frequently affects both lungs, which is why it is so fatal. Most people who contract regular pneumonia recover without long-term effects; however, COVID-19 is so severe that it is highly likely it could cause long-term effects.


Sepsis is infected blood. When an infection reaches the bloodstream, it is sepsis and can result in system-wide organ failure. The organs rely on the bloodstream to work together, and if there is a disruption to the bloodstream, it can result in organ failure. Once a patient develops sepsis, they are highly likely to have negative long-term health impacts.