You have a serious and medically-documented anxiety disorder. Your condition interferes with your daily life and it prevents you from earning a living. It has been suggested that you consider filing for Social Security disability, but even a quick search on the Social Security Administration (SSA) website leaves you confused and overwhelmed.
Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability?
The basic requirements for securing disability benefits for anxiety are the same for any other impairment: your anxiety must be expected to persist for 12 months or more, your anxiety must be severe enough that you cannot continue to work, and you must have contributed the required amount to the Social Security fund while you were working.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) should approve an application for disability benefits if you can prove that you:
- Meet the eligibility requirements described in Section 12.06 of the Listing of Impairments. Section 12.06 provides a detailed description about how someone with an anxiety disorder can qualify for Social Security disability. It is important to note that in order to qualify you must meet the requirements of subsection A and the requirements of subsection B or C.
- Have symptoms that are equal in severity to any other listing in the Listing of Impairments. If you can prove that your symptoms are just as bad as those described in another listing, you may qualify for disability benefits.
- Have symptoms that prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful employment. In other words, you cannot work because of your condition.
Some of the specific types of anxiety disorders recognized by the SSA include:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It is important that your anxiety disorder is properly diagnosed and that you are following your doctor’s treatment plan in order to qualify for benefits—it is not enough to report that you often feel anxious.
An Attorney Can Help You Get the Benefits You Deserve
At Morgan & Weisbrod, we understand that mental illnesses and disabilities can be just as serious as physical disabilities. We strive to help our clients with anxiety disorders successfully prove their conditions to the SSA and secure the disability benefits they deserve.
You have the right to hire a local Social Security disability attorney who will fight for your right to receive the benefits to which you are legally entitled. While you don’t have to hire a lawyer to represent you before the SSA, you may find that an attorney is important to your recovery because:
- The process of filing for Social Security disability is stressful. You have to file a complete and accurate application in order to get benefits. The majority of Social Security disability applications are denied each year, and many of them are denied because of technicalities. You can take the pressure off yourself by having a professional complete your application on your behalf.
- Benefits are not automatic. Only people with serious anxiety disorders are able to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. Thus, many people with anxiety disorders do not qualify and it is important to make sure that you can prove the severity of your condition to the SSA.
- There is more than one way to qualify for benefits. As discussed above, you may qualify pursuant to Section 12.06 of the Listing of Impairments, you may qualify because your symptoms are equal in severity to that of another listing, or you may qualify because your anxiety is so severe that it prevents you from working.
A lawyer can make sure you file an accurate and complete application that describes your condition and allows the SSA to make a fair determination of benefits for you.
Do not spend one more day wondering what you should do or worrying about how to complete the Social Security disability application. Instead, talk to your doctor and make sure you have the medical documentation you need to file a claim and then start a live chat with us so we can help you through this and advocate for the benefits you deserve.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.