Disabilities and COVID-19

Although many people who acquire COVID-19 recover within weeks, some continue to experience new or recurring symptoms months after being infected. This is known as “long COVID,” and it may be considered a disability under the law. 

Visit the questions below and the following links for more information on COVID-19 and disabilities:

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), especially Titles II (regarding state and local governments) and III (regarding public accommodations)
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
  • Section 1557 of the Patent Protection and Affordable Care Act

Yes. COVID, long COVID, and related conditions may be considered disabilities under the ADA if they physically or mentally impair a person such that they substantially limit one or more major life activities.

Read Q&As on COVID and the ADA here. Visit Workplace Fairness’ page on disability discrimination to understand exactly what qualifies as a disability under the ADA and what accommodations may be available to employees.

No. An individualized assessment is necessary to determine whether a person’s long COVID condition or any of its symptoms substantially limit a major life activity. The CDC and health experts are working to better understand long COVID. Temporary conditions – including long COVID – can qualify as disabilities under the ADA, but determinations are made on a case by case basis.

See Guidance on “Long COVID” as a Disability Under the ADA, Section 504, and Section 1557 for more information.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) restricts when and how much medical information an employer may obtain from any applicant or employee, requires employers to keep confidential any medical information they learn about any applicant or employee, and limits how much information they can obtain during hiring and onboarding. See What You Should Know About COVID and the ADA for more information.

Under the ADA, you are entitled to accommodations if you meet the definition of an individual with a disability and are qualified for the job with the reasonable accommodation. A person with Long COVID has a disability if the person’s condition or any of its symptoms is a “physical or mental” impairment that “substantially limits” one or more major life activities. See the Department of Labor’s Workers With Long Covid-19 May Be Entitled to Accommodations for more information.

Flexible Work for People with Disabilities and Special Needs | FlexJobs publishes job opportunities for remote work, including opportunities for people with disabilities.

Deciding when to disclose a disability can be a difficult choice for a person with a disability who is job hunting. If you have a hidden disability such as a learning disability or a psychiatric impairment, when and how to disclose your condition can be a real dilemma. See the Job Accommodation Network article Disability Disclosure and Interviewing Techniques for Persons with Disabilities for more information.

Tracking image for JustAnswer widget
Tracking image for JustAnswer widget
Scroll to Top

Madeline Messa

Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.