Paper cutout of umbrella and injured person Tens of millions of Americans have private disability coverage, most often as part of their employment benefit packages–and some will be relying on them during the long recovery from COVID.

Rickie Andersen took a brief break from work in March after she fell ill. Her cough, fever and chills were typical COVID-19 symptoms, but coronavirus tests were so scarce she could not obtain one to confirm the diagnosis.

After Andersen returned to her job as an information systems project manager in the San Francisco Bay Area, she struggled with profound fatigue, cognitive difficulties and other disabling complaints. For six months, she tried to keep awake during meetings and finish basic tasks that took much longer than before.

Finally, she decided to retain legal help so she could take advantage of the disability insurance coverage offered as an employee benefit. "I realized this is not going to be a short-term thing," Andersen said.

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