Mike Yada can still vividly recall the day in August 2020 when it became apparent that his peculiar symptoms, which had appeared after a mild case of Covid-19 earlier in the year, were getting worse.

Yada, who, before Covid, could have easily navigated the flat terrain close to the beach, said, “I went for an easy hike, but by the end I was so exhausted that I couldn’t walk back to my car. For the one-mile trip back to his parked car, he had to call an Uber.

Yada, 48, describes those as the beginning of his “crazy symptoms.” He was so exhausted that he was unable to sit up straight for more than five or ten seconds, and his vision was so blurry that he was unable to read. Walking was a challenge, and driving was out of the question.

He had “long Covid,” a post-infection condition characterized by a number of symptoms that, at best, can be bothersome and, at worst, can be incapacitating. He has battled those symptoms for more than two years and numerous doctor visits.

Yada, a tech industry worker, also had to fight for another employee benefit from his now-ex-employer: maintaining income replacement through disability insurance.

He recently prevailed in an appeal to reinstate those benefits after the insurer abruptly discontinued them, but he is unsure if it will hold up.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 43% of employees in the private sector have access to short-term disability insurance through their employer. It typically replaces 60% to 100% of an employee’s income, usually for three or six months, said Alex Henry, a national practice leader at Willis Towers Watson, an insurance advisory firm.

Long-term disability insurance, which is intended to kick in, when necessary, after short-term disability benefits run out, is available to 35% of workers. It usually pays 50% to 70% of a worker’s income — often through retirement age, depending on the specifics.

However, acceptance is not assured. Denials are also frequent for long-term Covid patients, according to experts.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, up to 30% of Americans have long-lasting Covid symptoms, which may affect up to 23 million people. However, the majority of people recover from Covid without any complications. These symptoms, which frequently surface following the resolution of the initial Covid infection, frequently include fatigue and brain fog (the inability to think clearly), both of which can be challenging to quantify.

Yada, a senior technical architect who worked for a biotech company for ten years and was based in California, had access to both short- and long-term disability insurance.

When his symptoms started to become incapacitating in August 2020, Yada applied for and was granted short-term disability insurance benefits first through the state of California and then through his employer.

Yet Yada received a letter from the insurer a few months ago, in August, informing him that his benefits were immediately terminating because he lacked “objective evidence” of a disability.

This was in spite of his assertion that the blood flow to his brain was reduced by 33% upon standing up straight, according to the results of a “tilt table test.” In layman’s terms, the test involves observing what happens to a person’s autonomic nervous system when they move from a flat position to an upright one, including what happens to their blood pressure, heart rate, and other involuntary functions. Yada’s results, he said, help explain why he can’t sit at a desk and cannot think straight.

You typically have 180 days to appeal the denial of a claim. The appeal must typically be reviewed by the plan within 45 days of being received.

The employer-based benefit would be reduced to $1,000, for example, if your workplace disability benefit paid $3,000 per month and SSDI awarded you $2,000 per month.

In other words, you would still receive $3,000 but the government would pay a portion of it rather than the insurance company.

Yada doesn’t know if his SSDI application will be granted. Denials are frequent and the process is notoriously slow.

He also lost employer-sponsored health insurance in the interim because he lost his job when the insurer terminated his benefits in August. While he chose to keep his coverage under a federal law known as COBRA, he is responsible for the full premiums instead of having an employer chip in. He’s paying about $800 a month.