Is Agoraphobia a Disability?
Agoraphobia is the most common phobia in the United States, and it is estimated that over three million Americans are currently suffering from the disorder. Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are most likely to develop the disorder. Medical research indicates that the disorder tends to be a result of a panic disorder instead of an independent condition.
Millions of Americans are living with debilitating panic attacks related to Agoraphobia. Some sufferers have an anxiety disorder that is so severe that it prevents them from leaving home. People who have severe Agoraphobia may not be able to work because their condition does not allow them to lead a healthy life.
Agoraphobia is considered to be an anxiety disorder. While the literal meaning of the word implies that sufferers are afraid of being in open spaces, most people who are living with Agoraphobia are specifically plagued with a fear of experiencing a panic attack while in a public place.
Severe cases of Agoraphobia result in the inability of the sufferer to leave their home. The individual views the house as a safe zone, and going home for any purpose will result in severe panic attacks that can be debilitating. Getting agoraphobia disability benefits can be a daunting task as the symptoms are hard to prove through documents.
What can qualify you for disability for Agoraphobia?
Agoraphobia is a debilitating disease that often results in the complete inability of an individual to work. Whether a person who has Agoraphobia is eligible for SSDI will depend on whether the disorder prevents the person from maintaining a job. Individuals who are found eligible to receive SSDI benefits must be unable to perform job tasks reasonably. Research indicates that Agoraphobia can be considered a form of panic attack, so the disability for agoraphobia eligibility of people living with Agoraphobia will involve the same evaluation as panic attacks.
A diagnosis of Agoraphobia must be made by a mental health professional. Determining whether an individual suffers from anxiety disorder involves observing the individual in a public situation to find out if the individual typically suffers from panic attacks in these types of situations.
A disabling level of Agoraphobia is automatically assumed to exist if the following elements are met:
- An intense feeling of fear and an overall sense of doom must be experienced a minimum of one day per week, and these episodes may not be predictable in nature.
- Episodes must interfere with the ability of the sufferer to engage in social activities, leave the house, focus on tasks, or provide basic personal care. At least one of these abilities must be severely limited by Agoraphobia for eligibility purposes.
Even if an individual’s condition does not match the above elements perfectly, Social Security may still find them disabled based on other evidence.
Qualifying for Agoraphobia SSI/ SSDI benefits
The Social Security Administration has classified Agoraphobia as anxiety disorder under section 12.06. In order to claim the SSDI/ SSI for Agoraphobia, you must have medical documents of the symptoms. In addition to that, you must fulfill the requirements set by the Blue Book.
Remember, Social Security cannot rely solely on a claimant’s description of their condition and symptoms. A medical professional who has experience in diagnosing individuals who have Agoraphobia must evaluate an individual and record the diagnosis. Paperwork related to this diagnosis should be retained as a form of proof of disability.
Social Security also typically will want to see evidence of acute treatment with a mental health professional to confirm that the condition and symptoms are persisting despite treatment.
People with Agoraphobia are afraid of:
- Staying alone in the social situation.
- Leaving their home for a long time.
- Boarding car or elevator.
- Losing control in a crowded/ public place.
- Staying away from others.
You must have medical documents of at least one of the symptoms:
- Panic attacks
- Disproportionate fear of anxiety
You must have reports from a licensed doctor or a physiatrist stating that you are suffering and experiencing these conditions. They are anxious or agitated most of the times.
If an applicant is suffering from Agoraphobia, the situation must limit their ability to work. It must interfere with their abilities to concentrate and function effectively. You must also have evidence stating that you are suffering from the condition for a period of at least two years.
Get help from an experienced Disability Lawyer
If Agoraphobia limits your ability to work, you can file for Social Security Disability claim. Get in touch with us, and we will help you determine if you meet the eligibility criteria or not. Schedule a consultation with us. Our team of qualified professionals will help you and assist you at every step.