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Anxiety Disorder And Disability Benefits

Last updated: May 8, 2023

Anxiety disorder is a psychological condition distinguished by constant emotions of fear, tension, or uneasiness. For those who are disabled by such illness, these feelings are more than just nervousness, but rather intense feelings of panic and worry that common occurrences or situations can cause.

Disorders linked to anxiety, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorders, phobias, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are considered disabilities. People with these conditions can be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. Those suffering from anxiety may qualify for disability benefits if they can prove that it prevents them from working.

An Overview Of What Anxiety Disorder Is

An anxiety disorder is defined as persistent sensations of anxiety, concern, or fear that are frequent and intense. Around 5% of the population suffers from anxiety disorders in some form or another.

Anxiety disorders can occur for no apparent reason, but they can also result from a medical illness or health concern. It can also appear suddenly and without warnings in moments of heightened distress (panic attacks). These sensations are amplified by an inability to regulate them, and as a result, they can significantly disrupt your everyday functioning. They can cause problems sleeping, focusing, breathing, and avoiding any daily activity that might make you feel anxious or panicked.

How To Prove That You Are Qualified For Disability

With simply an anxiety disorder, being approved for either Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) can be tricky. This is due to the fact that mental illnesses are harder to prove and can be managed with medications or psychotherapy. The majority of people who get disability benefits for anxiety disorders also have other illnesses, such as bipolar disorder or clinical depression.

All of the conditions for an anxiety illness to qualify for disability benefits are listed in Chapter 12 of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) Blue Book. There is a detailed discussion in Section 12.06 of anxiety-related disorders, which deals with all conditions in which anxiety is a major disturbance. In order to be eligible, an applicant’s anxiety disorders must meet the required severity level.

To prove that you are entitled to the benefits, the SSA will need to see that you’ve been getting regular treatment for your anxiety disorder in order to evaluate if it's medically or vocationally disabling. You will be asked to sign a release form allowing your doctors to submit your medical records to the SSA. Your medical records should include the following:

  • Reports from your doctor or therapist showing that you have been experiencing anxiety symptoms frequently.
  • Examinations of your mental state indicating any abnormalities in your thinking, such as difficulty recalling recent events or losing your train of thought quite often.
  • Comments about the effectiveness of medications you're taking, including any side effects that may be present.

Most importantly, you must express what occurs as a consequence of your anxiety. It is necessary for Social Security to understand how your anxiety affects your daily life. One of the factors you can present is your inability to do daily tasks well. The SSA will presume that if you have difficulty doing anything at home (such as managing to do basic household chores), you will find it difficult to perform at work as well.

The SSA will evaluate the above information to determine whether you are medically disabled or "unable to sustain competitive employment." Taking excessive breaks, calling in sick very often, or being unable to fulfill your job responsibilities can indicate to the SSA that no employers would hire you full-time.

If you wanna know if anxiety causes slurred speech, check out one of our articles to learn more.

If you have decided to apply for a disability benefit, read Disability Help’s article to know the top signs that your disability claim will be approved.

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Cheri Hermanson
Cheri leads our team of writers in producing the best quality content there is regarding society and disability, most especially those that helps ease the quality of life for our differently-abled loved ones.
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