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Disability Benefits For Anxiety

Is Anxiety a Disability?

Severe anxiety disorders make it difficult or impossible for people to perform everyday tasks. They elicit a range of stressful symptoms. Such problems may be associated with previous trauma. Military combat, airplane crashes, violent crimes, and animal attacks trigger many disorders. Others have no specific cause. Some individuals with anxiety disorders qualify for disability benefits from the SSA.

An anxiety disorder refers to a mental health condition where extreme feelings of fear and worry control your everyday actions. Only if one experiences severe anxiety symptoms that jeopardize their ability to function efficiently at home and work can they be deemed eligible for disability benefits through the SSA (Social Security Administration).
Disability Benefits For Anxiety
Anxiety disorders can take on different forms. Patients might feel completely unable to concentrate, avoid particular places or situations, feel extreme panic, or avoid crowds. Many people suffer from increased levels of concern and worry, hyper-vigilance, muscle tension, dry mouth, feeling faint, and sweating. It can occur to a serious enough level where the individual is eligible for an anxiety disability allowance.

People with anxiety disorders frequently experience stress and feel uneasy. They might sweat, shake, or become nauseous. This can lead to panic, fear, and nightmares. Muscles may become tense as well. Some people always feel anxious; others suffer anxiety when they encounter certain situations, places, or things. Symptoms might also appear when an individual tries to avoid obsessive or compulsive behavior.

How to get disability for anxiety?

A severe anxiety disorder may make a person unwilling to go outdoors. Such disorders can also prevent people from shopping, bathing, working or performing other essential tasks. Many individuals cope with mild anxiety disorders by avoiding stressful situations and minimizing social interaction. However, some people have disorders that make it impossible for them to work and therefore survive, without government assistance.

Anxiety disorders or panic attacks can lead to severe complications, which makes a person unable to function to his/her full potential. In order to know more about disability benefits for anxiety, it is important to understand the medical conditions that create a situation where it is considered as a disability.

It can affect a person in the following ways:

  • Growing phobias of performing certain tasks or going to particular places, for instance, being afraid to go outside of the house (agoraphobia)
  • Complete avoidance of all social situations
  • Issues at work dealing with co-workers, supervisors, and/or the public
  • Depression
  • Suicidal tendencies, and
  • Substance abuse, such as alcohol 

Individuals suffering from panic attacks have limited functional capacity in every area. When struck by a panic attack, the ability for a person to function is reduced to a minimum, if at all. 

Can you get SSI for Anxiety?

One of the issues for those who suffer from anxiety attacks is that the individual is left in constant fear of the next time an attack will occur.

This constant state of fear and high alert impedes an individual’s ability to focus and complete the necessary tasks on the job or for them to work alongside others in the workplace. Severe mental impairments are termed as disabilities because they render an individual unable to do any job. 

This constant fear can affect an individual’s ability to concentrate and complete tasks or to get along with others in the workplace. These mental impairments could affect an individual’s ability to work at virtually any job.

To be deemed eligible for social security disability anxiety benefits when a person suffers from anxiety, the SSA needs medical evidence that proves that they haven’t worked for the last 12 months or that they will not be able to work for at least 12 months. Depending on their work history and present income, they might apply for SSI (Supplemental Security Income) benefits or SSD (Social Security Disability) benefits.

Treatment options for anxiety disorders;

You need to discuss your situation with your medical provider and seek professional help without further delay if you have been suffering from any of the symptoms mentioned above. You will be referred to a mental health specialist to discuss your symptoms. Anxiety disorder is generally treated through the use of therapy, medication, or both.

Medication– There are several classes of medications that are commonly prescribed to treat anxiety disorders. Since anxiety can take on so many different forms, physicians can select the medications that offer the most success with the specific type of anxiety effecting the patient. Some of the more commonly prescribed anxiety medications are the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) which include Prozac (fluoxetine) and Lexapro (escitalopram).  The most Multiple antidepressants have shown positive results for controlling anxiety disorders. Effective medications include Prozac (fluoxetine) and Lexapro (escitalopram).

Psychotherapy is a form of counseling that is sometimes referred to as “talk therapy.” The mental health professional helps the patient by discussing the ways to come to terms with their anxiety. Cognitive-behavioral therapy might also be used in some cases to help patients recognize and change the thought patterns that trigger anxiety.

Getting disability benefits also depends upon the treatment you are seeking for your condition. The SSA wants to know that you are trying to get better. 

Can you get disability for anxiety?

To qualify for Social Security disability benefits, the anxiety disorder must persist for at least one year. It is also necessary to document various symptoms and limitations created by the disease. The government requires that beneficiaries have general anxiety, severe phobias, weekly panic attacks, compulsive behavior, flashbacks, or obsessions. An individual with general anxiety must exhibit at least three significant symptoms. The qualifying symptoms include muscle tension, autonomic hyperactivity, vigilant behavior, and apprehension.

A person with these symptoms will only qualify for assistance if the anxiety disorder sharply restricts his or her ability to live independently. It must interfere with social interaction, routine daily activities, or concentration, and speed. If it only creates limitations in one of these areas, a person may remain eligible if the disorder periodically worsens and affects daily function. An individual will also qualify if the anxiety disorder prevents him or her from leaving home.

It’s essential to recognize that the Social Security Administration defines “daily activities” in a fundamental sense. The government is unlikely to grant disability benefits to a person who can’t drive a car or speak to large groups of people due to anxiety. If they cannot overcome these obstacles, such individuals may need to relocate or find a less demanding job. However, a person might qualify for assistance if he or she cannot cross streets, talk to co-workers, or go shopping.

Although the government has established precise guidelines, mental disorders remain more challenging to diagnose and confirm than physical illnesses. It often proves difficult to determine if someone exhibits all of the symptoms and limitations needed to qualify for disability benefits. Doctors, disability lawyers, and Social Security staff can help people find out if they are eligible. To minimize waiting time, it is vital to adequately document all symptoms and apply for benefits as soon as possible.

Hiring an experienced disability attorney

When you are trying to get SSD or SSI for anxiety, it is essential to hire an attorney because it remarkably increases your chances of securing approval. An experienced attorney well understands the complexities of the SSA listings, and they will make sure that you meet the necessary criteria.

Want to learn more about securing social security disability benefits for anxiety disorders? Get in touch with the experts at Chermol & Fishman, LLC today for a free consultation.


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About the author 

david chermol

Mr. Chermol is a Founding and Lead Partner at the disability law firm of Chermol & Fishman, LLC. He represents Social Security disability and SSI claimants across the United States both at the administrative level and in federal court

From 1997 until 2007, Mr. Chermol was as an Assistant Regional Counsel for the Social Security Administration’s Office of the General Counsel in Philadelphia.

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