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Is Anxiety A Disability?

Suffering from anxiety can indeed be considered a disability, opening the possibility for individuals to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Conditions like OCD, panic disorders, phobias, and PTSD fall under the category of anxiety disorders that are recognized as disabilities. To be eligible for SSDI benefits, individuals need to demonstrate that their anxiety is so debilitating that it hinders their ability to work.

Applying for disability benefits for anxiety takes time, though, and most claims are denied. To increase your chances of getting approved, you’ll need to show robust medical documentation. Consider getting an experienced disability lawyer to help you put together a strong case and help you file a claim for disability benefits for anxiety.

Anxiety Disability Benefits

What Is Anxiety?

An anxiety disorder refers to a mental health condition where extreme feelings of fear and worry control your everyday life. Anxiety disorders can present without a reason but are sometimes also the direct cause of a medical condition, previous trauma or health problem. It can also present in episodes of sudden panic at heightened levels without warning (panic attacks). Those affected may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) through the Social Security Administration. SSI for Anxiety provides financial assistance for individuals with disabilities.

The patient is preoccupied with fear and may be unable to control it. These feelings can interfere in your daily functioning immensely. They can lead to trouble sleeping, concentrating, breathing, and avoidance of any daily activity that may increase anxiety or panic. Treatment for anxiety can include medications and counseling.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are five types of anxiety disorders that can include anxiety as a disability:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This anxiety a disability or disorder can occur among adults and even children. The condition has symptoms similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other types of anxiety. An individual experiences worry and tension that is not about any particular event. A diagnosis can be reached when the condition persists for at least 6 months.
  • Panic Disorder: A panic disorder is mainly identified by the presence of panic attacks. These attacks can come on suddenly and are often related to a specific trigger, such as a particular set of circumstances, objects, or scenarios. 
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD): In OCD, an individual performs repetitive behavior due to anxiety as well as recurrent, intrusive thoughts.
  • Phobias: Phobias are characterized by involuntary fears of places, things, events, or situations. They are triggered by a specific irrational fear, or phobia. There are a wide variety of possible triggers, including social anxiety, specific objects and scenarios, separation anxiety, or even agoraphobia.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): When an individual experiences severe stress symptoms that last for more than a month after a traumatic event, it is called PTSD

What Are The Symptoms of Anxiety?

Common symptoms of anxiety can include restlessness, inability to concentrate or limits your ability to focus, difficulty sleeping, becoming easily fatigued, intrusive thoughts, autonomic hyperactivity, vigilant behavior, constant worry, muscle tension and constant thoughts or fears about safety. For benefits one should have general anxiety, severe phobias, weekly panic attacks, compulsive behavior, flashbacks, or obsessions. An individual with general and severe anxiety disability must exhibit at least three significant symptoms.

Causes of Anxiety

You may never know the exact cause of an anxiety disorder. However, some of the known causes of anxiety include:

  • Stress
  • Genetics
  • Alcohol abuse or drug dependence
  • Depression and Psychological disability due to anxiety
  • Lots of change or uncertainty
  • Feeling under pressure while studying or in work

Can You Get Disability For Anxiety?

You can generally get disability for anxiety if your condition leaves you completely unable to work or unable to go through daily life on your own. However, the SSA has very strict criteria for who can get benefits because of anxiety or other mental health conditions. Benefits for short-term disability for stress and anxiety may be an option for individuals, offering temporary financial assistance during a period of inability to work.

Unfortunately, the SSA will not take you at your word that anxiety keeps you from holding a job. You’ll need medical proof of your symptoms and their effects on your life. Your best option is to work with a doctor and a lawyer to properly document your condition as getting disability for anxiety is difficult. 

How To Apply For Disability For Anxiety?

If you have anxiety considered as a disability, then there are two types of benefits you can file for under the Social Security program:  Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. In order to receive benefits, you must first file an application. You can do this online at Social Security’s website or at your local SSA office.

When you apply for social security for anxiety or any chronic anxiety impact disorder, you must provide substantial evidence that proves that you meet the requirements of SSA. In most cases, this means you will need to have been receiving regular treatment for your anxiety and have the medical documentation to prove this. The process of applying can be very stressful and overwhelming. 

As such, it is often necessary to work with a social security attorney who can help you with your case. These attorneys specialize in this area of the law and understand precisely what is needed to secure approval for your SSDI for anxiety claims. By working closely with a social security attorney, you can receive assistance in gathering evidence, handling paperwork, and ensuring you get the full and fair benefits  and disability rights you deserve for your anxiety disorder.

What Is The Legal Criteria For Obtaining Disability For Anxiety?

If you apply for disability benefits under Anxiety-Related Disorders, you can prove your case through medical records, letters and reports from your doctor, and your own testimony.

The legal requirements for getting disability benefits for an anxiety disorder are:

1 . Prove you have an anxiety disorder AND

2a. Prove that your anxiety disorder severely limits your mental abilities OR

2b. Prove you have serious anxiety that has continued for at least two years

What Should I Do If My Disability Claim For Anxiety Is Denied?

While it’s common for most disability applications to be initially denied, don’t be discouraged. If you believe you cannot work due to your medical conditions, you have the right to appeal the denial. Make sure to initiate the appeal process within 60 days to pursue the support you need. 

Appealing an initial denial moves your claim to the second stage, which is called Reconsideration. Social Security assigns your claim to another disability examiner to reconsider the evidence. Social security may send you reports to complete, or schedule an evaluation with a doctor. It is important to your case that you comply. If you appeal within 60 days you move to the third level, the Hearing, which is when the majority of applications are approved.

In the third stage of a disability claim, you’ll have a hearing with an Administrative Law Judge. It’s different from a regular court hearing – it’s private, confidential, and there’s no opposing attorney, strict disability laws and rules of evidence, or witnesses in most cases. During the hearing, the Judge will ask about your work history, medical treatment, and activities of daily life. Afterward, you can anticipate receiving a decision by mail within two weeks to six months. Getting legal help can dramatically increase your chances of securing approval.

What Is The Average Disability Check For Anxiety?

In 2022, the average disability payment for anxiety and other mental disorders was $1,343.88. If you’re eligible for anxiety-related benefits, the maximum monthly payment for SSDI is $3,822, while SSI provides a maximum of $943 per month in 2024. It’s important to note that these amounts are legally set and apply universally, irrespective of the specific condition.

Regardless of qualifying under a different disability or having multiple conditions, these set amounts remain constant; they won’t increase based on the nature or number of conditions.

Your actual disability payment can vary, taking into account factors such as your work history, additional sources of income, and the value of your assets. It’s worth mentioning that it’s possible to qualify for both SSDI and SSI simultaneously, depending on your individual circumstances.

3 Tips To Consider Before Applying For Anxiety Disability

Increase your chances of getting  disability benefits for anxiety with these three tips:

  • Understand your disability insurance options properly and the appropriate timing for your application.
  • Collaborate with your doctor for clear and comprehensive medical records.
  • Consider hiring a disability lawyer for expert guidance

Need Legal Help? Contact a disability lawyer

Anxiety can make even the smallest task feel overwhelming. If you or a loved one is suffering from mental health conditions that prevent you from working, contact the disability lawyers in St Petersburg, Florida today. They are familiar with the regulations enforced by the SSA when it comes to benefits, and these legal professionals can assist you as you collect medical evidence of your disability and file the necessary paperwork. Set up a consultation with an attorney to get started on your application.

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