Is Anxiety A Disability?
Anxiety disorders are mental health conditions that are characterized by constant feelings of uneasiness, tension, and apprehension. It is not only socially limiting but also immensely disruptive to every part of a person’s life. Disorders involving panic, phobias, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and social anxiety can qualify for a disability allowance for anxiety if they are severely debilitating and well-documented.
An applicant can qualify for disability benefits if he can show that his anxiety disorder is medically documented as severe and persistent over the course of the last two years and can prove that he or she has been receiving continuous medical attention or has remained in a structured setting or living arrangement associated with anxiety. A claimant can qualify for the benefits if he can prove that he has minimal capacity to meet the demands of ordinary life or the changes to his environment.
Different standards are applied to applicants that are living in protected or structured situations or are accepting psychological help or undergoing intense therapy that has brought their anxiety symptoms under control. The SSA believes that in situations like these, an individual’s functional abilities will seem better than usual in real-life situations where the demands and stresses are greater.
You might be eligible to receive disability benefits if you have been diagnosed with any one of the disorders mentioned before, and it limits your ability to function socially. These functions may include leaving the home to run errands, concentrating, or managing other tasks associated with day-to-day living.
Can You Get Disability For Anxiety?
Not every case of anxiety is severe enough to make someone automatically eligible for social security disability benefits. The benefits of disability for anxiety are only available to those who suffer sufficiently severe effects of anxiety that limit their ability to engage in daily activities due to the disability.
For instance, people with mild anxiety, who can still go out and take care of their basic needs, will not qualify for the benefits. On the other hand, someone who faces considerable disruption with his ability to take part in typical daily activities, such as the ability to work and earn consistent wages might be eligible for it.
To add to the severity requirement, the SSA (Social Security Administration) also requires a disability to be long-term. This means that the applicant must have been unable to work due to anxiety for at least twelve months since the time of his application or must have expected the condition to last continuously for at least twelve months.
The SSA also offers guidelines on how severe anxiety disorders must be in order to make an individual eligible to receive SSD or SSI for anxiety. The guidelines are found in the listing of impairments by the SSA, which covers all of the details regarding the symptoms of anxiety disorders that are considered disabling conditions.
How to Get Disability for Anxiety?
The SSA will only consider you to have a disability when you meet all the requirements found in its listing of disabling impairments. The anxiety-related disorders are covered in listing 12.06
Understanding marked and extreme limitations in securing the benefits plays a crucial role in submitting an acceptable application. The marked and extreme terms are two categories of ratings used by the SSA to denote the extent of disability. The term ”marked”, in this case, is worse than a matter of moderate disability. It can be considered as a severely limiting condition which translates to having an impairment that seriously interferes with your ability to independently start, or continue, or complete activities.
Extreme is a term that is not as severe as a complete loss of ability but is a rating that represents the worst limitation, which is more severe than a marked limitation. Extreme and marked limitations are both based on the professional judgments given by an SSA psychologist while reviewing medical evidence.
To determine whether your condition meets the requirements in the 12.06 listing, you need to have the disorder diagnosed by a doctor, and it must include three or more of the following symptoms:
- Muscle tension
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Chronic fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
Aside from having no less than three of the characteristics mentioned above, you also need to prove that your condition severely impairs your average ability to function. Most people have an extreme limitation in any given capacity or a marked problem (severe limitation) if they have substantial difficulty in any two of the following areas:
- Using, remembering, or understanding information (the ability to use judgment, learn new skills, and understand instructions in any circumstance);
- Social interactions with other people (the capacity of using socially apt behaviors);
- Maintaining pace or concentrating in performing tasks (the capacity to complete tasks successfully); or
- Taking personal care or adapting to changes (self-control and personal skills)
Getting Disability for Anxiety Without Meeting the Listing
If your symptoms do not fit into any of the aforementioned serious conditions, you will have to try and get the benefits through medical-vocational allowances by showing that you don’t have the ability to work.
The SSA might award disability benefits when the generalized anxiety of an individual is severe enough to prevent them from engaging in any kind of employment. The determination of medical-vocational allowances is based on functional capacity, work history, education, and the age of an individual.
How SSD lawyer can help in getting benefits for Anxiety?
After applying for social security disability benefits, all claims are sent to case specialists for review. You might be asked to attend an interview or to take a mental examination with an SSA approved psychologist or psychiatrist to verify your present condition. The process usually takes months, but the chances of getting approved increase remarkably based on the amount of reliable medical documentation and evidence that you can provide.
In the case of anxiety disorders, it is beneficial to hire an experienced attorney who understands the SSA regulations and can help you with gathering the evidence needed to convince the SSA about the validity of your disability.
Here are the ways in which our experienced attorneys can come to your aid;
- Identifying the claims that might meet the listing
You might not be aware that your condition is eligible for receiving a faster approval, but your attorney will be able to identify if your claim meets the listing quickly. If your lawyer can determine that your condition meets a listing, he or she will start to carefully review your file to ensure that all of your medical evidence meets the SSA criteria.
- Strengthening your claim by eliminating your weaknesses
Your attorney will take the necessary steps to strengthen your claim. If the SSA’s review of your mental Residual Functional Capacity (RFC), which is the extent of your functional abilities despite the limitations caused by your disability, is unfavorable, your lawyer will strive to identify and apply legal strategies to strengthen your case. This may include finding weaknesses in the chief examiner’s opinion, seeking a second medical opinion to persuade administrative law judges who heavily depend on chief examiner opinions.
- Effective interactions with doctors preparing the RFC
A skilled disability lawyer interacts with the doctors to overcome the concerns or objections a physician might have about preparing the RFC. The staff members of a disability attorney’s office are well-versed in contacting medical offices and hospitals to secure the required medical records.
You need the support of an experienced disability attorney to present the strongest possible case to the SSA. So, get in touch with the legal experts at Khattar Law, PC today for a free consultation. Let our attorneys help you determine if qualify and we can help you apply for disability benefits right now.