When Is Anxiety Considered to Be a Disability?
Anxiety is a mental condition in which feelings of fear, worry, and phobia control the actions and thoughts of the individuals suffering from it. There is an undeniable connection between mental illness and Social Security disability qualification. The Social Security Administration (SSA) list of qualifying disabilities includes anxiety and depression as significant and valid causes of mental illness.
Additionally, applicants also make claims concerning intellectual disabilities, schizophrenia, learning disabilities, and other issues that cause them to be unable to earn a living. This post will explain the connection between anxiety and Social Security disability benefits. When severe anxiety symptoms affect your freedom or ability to work, you may qualify to receive disability benefits for anxiety.
In fact, research demonstrates that people who suffer from emotional trauma and mental illness often receive Social Security benefits for their disabling conditions. The SSA will consider whether to grant people the disability benefits they seek based on their application and supporting documentation. Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Inability to concentrate
- Avoidance of some scenarios
- Fear of crowds
- Feelings of panic
- An abnormal level of concern or worry
- Feeling faint
- Muscle tension
- Dry mouth
- Hypervigilance, or a state of increased alertness
When you apply, the SSA will need medical proof that you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. As a result of the disorder, you should have been incapable of working for a minimum of 12 months. Based on your current wages and work history, you might apply for Social Security disability (SSD) benefits. On this note, below is an explanation of the medical evidence that the SSA requires before approving an applicant’s SSD application for disability relating to an anxiety disorder.
Detailed Therapeutic Evidence Required for SSD Approval
The individual’s psychologist should provide documentation that serves as proof of the general anxiety disorder diagnosis. Other pieces of valuable evidence may include a diagnosis of:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (disorder caused by a past distressing event)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (patients may find it necessary to perform tasks repeatedly or have uncontrollable thoughts)
- Panic disorder (patients may have a physical response when there is no actual danger)
- Agoraphobia (the avoidance or fear of public places)
The SSA will investigate the evidence of psychological testing or any evaluation diagnosing anxiety and other medical treatments that your psychologist or psychiatrist provides. In addition, the application requires the person seeking benefits to describe what happens when they have an anxiety attack and what may cause it to occur.
For instance, if you are in the office and get a panic attack due to a deadline or some other trigger, you may:
- Abruptly leave the office job site
- Lock yourself in the office washroom for hours
- Suffer in silence and fail at completing the work for the day because your concentration and memory are compromised
All these things should be explained to the SSA officials. Also, one should explain any other situations that may trigger anxiety, and the effect the disorder has had on your work. Additionally, your application for benefits can become even stronger if you are able to obtain a statement from your previous employer concerning work absences as a result of your anxiety symptoms.
How to Avoid Receiving a Denial?
To get qualified under the disability listing, it is important that you meet the disability requirements found in the SSA’s bluebook listing of impairments. This lists all of the ways that you may qualify for disability benefits. For anxiety, you must display at least three of the following symptoms:
- Difficulties in concentrating on tasks
- Getting easily tired
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance
In addition to having at least three of the symptoms of anxiety listed above, one must also consider collecting proof of how the disorder affects the concerned person’s ability to work in any capacity. Most people who suffer from debilitating anxiety will have problems in the following areas:
- Remembering, understanding, instructing, explaining, learning new skills or things, or making critical decisions
- Successfully performing daily life activities
- Adapting to change and regulating one’s emotions or actions
- Interacting or communicating with others
What If the Patient Is Undergoing Intense Psychological Therapy?
A unique standard will be applied to applicants who live in a residential support facility or are undergoing intense therapeutic sessions or psychological support that diminishes the symptoms of the disorder. For these situations, the individuals’ functional abilities may appear better than they would in real-life situations, in which daily stress and other demands would be more significant and more disruptive.
If you have documentation showing that you have had the disorder for at least two years, you can consult a legal professional to help you apply for disability benefits so you can get the assistance you need. Once your claim gets approved by the SSA, you can qualify for the disability benefits. For this reason, professional assistance from an SSD lawyer is important to consider.
If the SSA discovers that the anxiety disorder is not significant enough to necessitate that you receive SSD benefits, you will be denied. This is where the competency of a legal professional comes into play. If someone you know is suffering from a disabling condition due to their anxiety disorder and cannot work to earn a living, it is time to contact reputable Florida Social Security disability attorneys. These legal professionals can help you acquire the required documents to make your case stronger, thereby improving your chances of succeeding on your appeal.