For some individuals, working at home during the COVID-19 pandemic is simply not an option. For others, however, particularly white-collar employees who work in an office setting, working from home has been a viable option. Although some employees may only be able to perform a portion of their job duties or work reduced hours, technology has made working from home possible for employers who never even contemplated it as an option. In some cases, however, people who have been working from home are no longer able to do so because they have developed a physical or mental illness. When this situation occurs, the question becomes whether the option of working from home is damaging to your long-term disability claim.
Unfortunately, a COVID-19 diagnosis can result in more than a few weeks off work. It can cause long-term lung damage and damage to other organs, including the heart and kidneys. It also can trigger new or exacerbate existing mental illnesses, including PTSD, anxiety disorders, bipolar depression, and post-intensive care syndrome (PICS). In some cases, a work-at-home option may not suffice to accommodate your disabling medical condition. When this situation occurs, you may need to apply for long-term disability benefits.
Working from home can eliminate some difficulties that you might have if you were returning to your regular workplace. For instance, there is no need for you to drive or take public transportation to work or walk some distance to your office. You might be able to adjust your work hours to allow for extended break periods. Despite these accommodations, however, you still may be unable to work based on the severity of your disabling condition.
Your ability to work from home does not automatically disqualify you from getting long-term disability benefits. However, you may need to emphasize and provide detailed evidence about how your disability prevents you from performing work-related tasks, whether you are at home or at the office.
Bonnici Law Group has handled the claims of countless individuals who have encountered difficulties in procuring long-term disability benefits under their employers’ ERISA-governed insurance policies. We will protect your rights and advocate on your behalf throughout every stage of the claims process. Call our office at 619-259-5199 to set up an appointment to speak with us today.