Have you been diagnosed with severe anxiety?
Is your anxiety so bad that you cannot work?
And you are worried if you can be awarded disability benefits for anxiety?
The answer is yes!
Similar to physical disabilities, not everyone with anxiety qualifies for disability benefits.
Yet severe forms of anxiety can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and the ability to work.
Therefore, anxiety disorders are considered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) under section 12.06 of the blue book, which covers mental disorders.
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Let’s dive into the details of this article to clear all your ambiguities regarding filing for social security disability with an anxiety disorder diagnosis.
Anxiety Disorders That May Qualify for Disability Benefits
Social anxiety and other anxiety disorders can limit a person’s social life. Still, at worst, they might make it difficult for them to work.
Following anxiety disorders can qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they are well documented and highly debilitating:
- Panic disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
Some people claim to suffer from anxiety, nervousness, or phobias. Yet, the symptoms are regrettably a part of modern life’s stress.
Whereas, to be considered for disability benefits due to an anxiety disorder, SSA requires medical evidence that you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and that as a result of this condition you have been unable to work for at least 12 months
Therefore, you may be eligible for disability compensation if you have been diagnosed with one of the conditions mentioned above and it interferes with your ability to:
- Leave the house
- Function socially
- Manage daily tasks
Social Security Administration Disability programs
The social security administration divides disability into two programs:
- Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
- Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSD is a need-based program for disabled people who have paid into the social security system. SSDI determination is based on disability and works credits.
SSI, on the other hand, is a need-based program that is only available to those who meet stringent income and asset standards. SSI determination is based on age/disability and limited income and resources.
For example, you will not be eligible for SSDI if you have never worked due to your mental illness. Furthermore, if you rely on the financial help of friends or relatives, you will not be eligible for SSI.
Eligibility Criteria For SSD and SSI Benefits
Although people with anxiety may be eligible for SSD or SSI benefits, the evaluation process of social security administration is strict. Even if you believe you are qualified, your application will almost certainly be denied the first time around.
To make your anxiety disorder disability case more strong, your anxiety must:
- Obstruct your ability to work full-time
- Has lasted for at least one year or is anticipated to last for at least one year
- Be dangerous to your life. (especially when diagnosed with other disorders or diseases)
The following medical evidence regarding your anxiety will make you eligible to qualify for SSD benefits:
- A physician or mental health expert diagnosed you with anxiety
- You’re having treatment and see your doctor or specialist regularly
- Your anxiety is chronic, and it prevents you from working or doing daily tasks
- You’re dealing with various mental health issues as well as a physical impairment
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Qualifying Under a Disability Listing
To qualify under a disability listing for anxiety-related disorders, you must meet the conditions of either Paragraphs A and B below OR the conditions of Paragraphs A and C below.
One of the Following Medical Conditions Must be Documented:
- Persistent generalized anxiety is accompanied by these symptoms:
- Motor tension
- Autonomic hyperactivity/ apprehensive expectation
- A persistent unreasonable fear of a situation, object, or activity leads to a strong desire to avoid the problem, thing, or activity
- Severe panic attacks that occur at least once a week are characterized by sudden, unpredictable episodes of acute fear, apprehension, and a sense of impending doom
- Obsessions or compulsions that cause significant distress regularly
- Recurrent intrusive recollections of a traumatic event that causes significant discomfort
- Persistent generalized anxiety is accompanied by these symptoms:
The Condition Under Paragraph A Above Must Result in at Least Two of the Following or Paragraph C Below:
- Concentration issues are a common occurrence
- Persistence or pacing issues that are noticeable
- Decompensation episodes are repeated, and each lasts a long time
- Significant problems in maintaining social functioning or a restriction on regular activities
The Conditions Described in Paragraph A Must Result in Your Total Inability to Function Independently Outside Your Home
A medical-vocational allowance may be issued if your condition does not qualify you for full social security disability benefits.
Determinants Of Your Residual Functional Capacity
Suppose the SSA finds that your anxiety disorder is not severe enough to meet listing 12.06. In that case, the agency will review the evidence needed for anxiety disorder in your file to analyze precisely what limitations you have on your ability to work.
The SSA will issue you a mental residual functional capacity (MRFC or RFC).
For example, suppose you have a panic disorder. In that case, your RFC statement will explain what work duties you can undertake and how often you can perform them.
For example, you might have the following RFC: Inability to do complex tasks but the ability to complete short and simple functions that can be mastered in 30 days or less. No contact with the general population and only superficial communication with coworkers and bosses.
Using the previous scenario as an example, even though your RFC appears to prevent you from doing most tasks, you are unlikely to be deemed incapacitated because the SSA claims that your RFC allows you to conduct some unskilled and straightforward employment.
However, on appeal, you could argue that your panic episodes are so frequent that you would regularly have difficulties maintaining concentration over an 8-hour workday and that your disorder would substantially harm your productivity.
How To Apply for Anxiety Benefits?
If you are applying for SSDI, you can do it online or at the nearest SSA office. However, no online application is accessible for SSI.
This is because an interview is required as part of the typical application produced and must be conducted in person or, in some cases, over the phone.
Visit the SSA’s website to start your application online or call 1-800-772-1213 to schedule an appointment. Also, there are more than 1300 locations across the US, so you are sure to find an office close to you.
Work With a Social Security Attorney
Sometimes even if you qualify for these benefits, you may not be awarded SSDI payments when you first submit your application.
Therefore, you may need the services of a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate. An experienced lawyer will ensure that all documentation is in order and that your case is presented to the SSA in the strongest manner possible.
How Much Is The Disability for Anxiety?
The average SSDI monthly compensation in 2014 was $1165. On the other hand, the amount you receive is directly proportional to the amount of FICA taxes you have already paid into the FICA system over your working years.
In 2015, the federal payment was $733/month for an individual and $1,100/month for a couple. Remember, the amount depends on several factors, including your living arrangements.
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Generalized anxiety disorder and other types of severe anxiety can be long-term and limit someone’s ability to work.
According to Social Security law, as long as your condition meets those requirements, it will be considered a disability. So, if you feel your anxiety is making you disabled, you should try to apply for the benefits.
The healthcare providers at EZCare Clinic have a plethora of expanding scientific medical knowledge and aim to provide effective treatment plans as well as lifestyle advice to you.
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