Does your anxiety prevent you from working? Anxiety can cause feelings of worry or nervousness. Anxiety disorders are the most common emotional disorders. If you have an anxiety disorder, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits.
Anxiety disorders have many symptoms. Frequently, anxiety disorders can cause excessive worry or fear. They can also cause you to avoid certain places, activities or people. For example, symptoms may include:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Problems sleeping or fatigue
- Obsessions or compulsions
- Panic attacks, constant thoughts or fears about safety or physical complaints
Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders include several different types. These include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder – six months or more of a constant state of tension or worry, not related to any specific event
- Panic disorder – repeated attacks of anxiety that last up to ten minutes without any specific cause
- Social anxiety disorder – fear, self-consciousness and/or embarrassment with everyday social interactions
- Agoraphobia – fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness or embarrassment. Typically, it can cause difficulty leaving your home or a particular location
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder – recurrent and persistent thoughts or impulses that may make you feel can be controlled by performing repetitive behaviors
What if my anxiety prevents me from working?
You may qualify for Social Security disability benefits for your anxiety disorder. However, you must show that your symptoms are severe. They must cause problems doing normal, daily activities. Also, they must keep you from working for at least 12 months.
Social Security’s Listing for Anxiety Disorders
Social Security provides a listing of impairments. This is known as the “Blue Book.” The Blue Book provides specific conditions that your must meet to qualify for disability benefits. Social Security looks at anxiety disorders under listing 12.06.
Meeting the listing for anxiety disorders
First, you must have medical records that show three or more anxiety symptoms. Specifically, you must show:
- Restlessness, easily fatigued or difficulty concentrating
- Irritability, muscle tension or problems sleeping
Second, you must show that your symptoms cause a serious problem in your functioning. Generally, you must have an extreme limitation in at least one area. Alternatively, you can have a marked limitation in at least two areas. These areas of functioning include:
- Understanding, remembering or applying information (understanding instructions, learning new tasks, applying new knowledge to tasks, and use judgment in decisions)
- Interacting with others (the ability to use socially appropriate behaviors)
- Concentrating, persisting or maintaining pace in performing tasks (staying focused and/or completing tasks)
- Adapting or managing oneself (the ability to perform daily activities such as paying bills, cooking, shopping, dressing and keeping good hygiene)
- Social Security definitions of marked and extreme
“Marked” means having a serious limitation in that area of functioning. “Extreme” means not being able to function in that area at all. A Social Security psychiatrist or psychologist looks at your medical records. They decide if your anxiety disorder causes marked or extreme limitations.
Anxiety and the “C” Criteria
On the other hand, you may also meet the criteria under the listing if your anxiety disorder has been
- Medically documented as serious and persistent for at least two years and
- Required to keep a highly structured setting to reduce your symptoms, such as an intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization program or
- Have minimal capacity to adapt to demands that are not already part of your daily life or changes to your environment
Getting disability if you don’t meet the listing
You can still qualify for disability benefits if you do not meet Social Security’s listing. Social Security considers your residual functional capacity or RFC. Social Security looks at how your anxiety symptoms impact your ability to work. Particularly, they consider your ability to:
- Carry out simple instructions
- Make simple work-related decisions
- Respond appropriately to supervision and co-workers and
- Handle changes in a routine
- Show up to work consistently, arrive on time or leave early
Example 1: anxiety prevents you from working
As an example, Joan suffers from anxiety and panic attacks. Her panic attacks happen unexpectedly. She receives medication from her psychiatrist. She also sees a therapist regularly. However, she still suffers from panic attacks many times during the day. She has even had to go the emergency room during her panic attacks. Her panic attacks make it hard for her to finish things she starts. At times, her panic attacks keep her from leaving the house. Social Security finds that Joan would miss work a lot due to her panic attacks. Therefore, Joan qualifies for disability benefits.
What evidence do I need if my anxiety prevents me from working?
Social Security requests medical records from your doctors. As a rule, it is best to get treatment from psychiatrist or psychologist. It is important to see your doctors regularly. Equally important, you should tell them about all the symptoms you have. Additionally, your doctor can complete a residual functional capacity form. This form can help explain how severe your symptoms are.
Getting help with your disability claim for anxiety
It can be difficult winning disability benefits for anxiety disorders. However, an experienced disability advocate can help guide you through the process. They can explain Social Security’s rules and requirements for disability. An experienced advocate can also help gather your records to help support your case. Additionally, they can provide you forms for your doctors and answer all your questions.
Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652
Make sure you start your claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. If you have already applied for SSI or SSDI, call immediately to make sure your case is still pending and was filed correctly. You may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact us now for a free consultation.
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