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Receiving Disability Benefits for Anxiety
Anxiety disorders, including phobias, PTSD, panic disorders, OCD, and generalized anxiety disorder may qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Of course, you must meet all the other SSA requirements, such as sufficient work credits, as well as resources and income limits. If you can show that your anxiety disorder prevents you from working or accomplishing your day-to-day tasks and if your symptoms match the SSA impairment listing requirements, you have a good chance of success. Anxiety disorders are characterized by persistent feelings of uneasiness, tension, or apprehension.
Anxiety disorders are much more than “nervousness.” These disorders can leave the individual with feelings of terror that can be provoked by “normal” situations that occur in everyday life. It can be extremely beneficial to have experienced, knowledgeable help when applying for disability for your anxiety disorder, to ensure you have all the necessary medical documentation to support your disability claim. Carmichael Law Group can help you through your disability application, making it as easy as possible for you, and giving you the very best chance of success.
What is Anxiety Disorder/Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
There are essentially five primary types of anxiety disorders that are characterized by their individual symptoms:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder—A fairly constant state of worry and tension that does not appear to be related to any particular situation or event, and that lasts a minimum of six months.
- Post–Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD—Following a traumatic event or events, PTSD involves severe stress symptoms that last longer than one month.
- Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder or OCD—When an individual has recurrent anxious thoughts or impulses and they attempt to reduce or control those thoughts or impulses through ritualistic or repetitive behaviors, this is known as OCD.
- Phobias—Phobias are fears that are overwhelming, involuntary, and irrational. These fears could be of a thing, an event, or a place. Many people are afraid of snakes and spiders, but phobias go further—to the point the individual is almost paralyzed by fear.
- Panic Disorder—panic disorders are repeated anxiety or terror attacks that appear to have no readily identifiable cause and last up to ten minutes.
Generalized anxiety disorder causes the individual to worry about everyday life events for no apparent reason. A person with generalized anxiety disorder always expects disaster and is unable to stop worrying about school, work, health, family, or money. While we all feel anxiety from time to time, those with generalized anxiety disorder feel anxiety that is totally out of proportion to the situation.
This anxiety can dominate the thinking to the point it becomes impossible to live a “normal” life—work, school, social relationships, and even day-to-day activities—could be completely overwhelming. It is estimated that about 4 million American adults have GAD, usually beginning in childhood or adolescence, but sometimes in adulthood. Those with generalized anxiety disorder may also have other anxiety disorders, including PTSD, phobias, or OCD.
Is Anxiety Disorder/Generalized Anxiety Disorder a Disability Under Social Security Disability Rules?
Anxiety disorders are considered by the Social Security Administration under Section 12.06 of the impairment listings which covers Mental Disorders. Because the medical evidence that supports a diagnosis of anxiety is so subjective (and difficult to document), it can be frustrating for a person that suffers from anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder to feel as though their reported symptoms are not entirely believed. It is important that you have a history of treatment by a qualified mental health professional as well as your physician. You must meet the conditions of either Paragraphs A and B OR the conditions of Paragraphs A and C below:
- Medical documentation of at least one of the following:
- Chronic, constant, generalized anxiety with three of these four symptoms: apprehensive expectation, autonomic hyperactivity, vigilance, and scanning, or motor tension.
- Marked distress caused by recurring, intrusive memories of a traumatic experience.
- A desire to avoid an object, situation, or activity due to constant, irrational fear of the object, situation, or activity.
- Obsessions or compulsions that are recurring, and cause distress
- Panic attacks that are severe and recurring—at least one per week—involving a sudden, unpredictable episode of intense terror, apprehension, or fear, and a sense of impending doom.
- The condition listed under Paragraph must result in at least two of the following, OR Paragraph C:
- Significant difficulty maintaining concentration
- Significant difficulty functioning in social situations resulting in restriction of even the most routine activities of daily life
- Difficulty with persistence or pace
- Repeated periods of decompensation with each period having a more extended duration than the last
- The conditions described in Paragraph A must be severe enough to result in the total inability to function outside your home in an independent manner.
Providing Proof for Anxiety Disorder/Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Disability Benefits
As with any disability, you must ensure you have good medical documentation of your disorder. If you are unable to qualify under the impairment listings, the SSA will consider your anxiety symptoms to determine to what extent they impair your daily activities. They will then determine whether there is any type of work you are able to do. You will be given a rating regarding the type of work SSA thinks you can do, known as your residual functional capacity (RFC). For anxiety disorders, the question will be whether you are able to do even unskilled work, particularly if your anxiety disorder prevents you from leaving your home or interacting in an appropriate manner with others.
Along with this, your attorney from Carmichael Law Group will ensure you meet the five-step review process while skillfully telling your story in a way that clearly shows your condition impacts your ability to engage in normal day-to-day activities as well as your ability to work.
Social Security does not pay for partial disability or short-term disability—only total disability. SSA determines whether you are disabled by asking the following five questions:
- Are you currently working? If you are working, and you are consistently making more than $1,310 per month, you will probably not be considered disabled.
- Does your disability prevent you from performing basic work-related activities (walking, standing, sitting, remembering)? In short, is your condition considered “severe?”
- Does your disabling medical condition meet or equal the severity of a listing found in the Blue Book list of medical conditions?
- Are you able to do the work you did prior to your disability?
- Can you make an adjustment to do any other type of work?
Getting Help with Your Anxiety Disorder/Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Disability Benefits from Carmichael Law Group
An anxiety disorder can be more difficult to qualify for benefits than certain other disorders, but not impossible, particularly if you have an experienced attorney from Carmichael Law Group helping you. We know how to provide the documentation you need to obtain disability benefits for your anxiety disorder. Our experience, knowledge, and resources are used for your benefit, whether you are in the early stages of your application, or you have been denied benefits and need to file an appeal. Contact Carmichael Law Group today.