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Anxiety Disorder and getting SSDI benefits

If you are in a stressful situation anxiety is normal and natural. Too much anxiety, however, is likely to negatively impact your day-to-day living. Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and social anxiety disorder are not “normal” and may be the result of genetic, environmental, psychological, and developmental factors. getting-disability-benefits

Signs & Symptoms of an anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorders affect an estimated 40 million Americans, with women more likely to experience problems than men. So how do you know if you have an anxiety disorder? Most anxiety disorders, although they may have different symptoms, are generally triggered by excessive dread or irrational fear. Anxiety disorders can often be successfully treated, but the first step is to see a doctor and make sure to get the correct diagnosis. After you have received the proper diagnosis you may receive additional treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or medication. Therapy is especially useful to help claimants confront their fears and desensitize themselves to situations that can trigger certain anxieties. For instance, claimants with OCD who repetitively wash their hands may be exposed to certain dirt and then try to wait longer and longer to wash their hands, thus teaching them strategies to cope with their anxiety from waiting.

Social Security Disability Insurance and Anxiety Disorders

Unfortunately, some claimants find that even with the best medication and the best therapy they are never able to maintain full-time employment. If you have an anxiety disorder which is so severe that you cannot work a full-time job, the condition will last for at least 12 continues months, and you have been insured for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits, you may qualify for SSDI. To evaluate your mental health condition the SSA will request your medical records from all of your treating doctors. Next, the SSA will compare your condition and related symptoms to their listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments. Although not all health conditions are listed in the SSA Listing, anxiety disorders can be found under 12.00 Medical Disorders, Section 12.06 Anxiety Related Disorders.

Meeting a Listing for Anxiety Disorders

To meet a listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments you must have generalized, persistent anxiety accompanied by three out of four of the following signs or symptoms: The SSA will also determine if you have “irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation which results in a compelling desire to avoid the dreaded object, activity, or situation; or recurrent severe panic attacks manifested by a sudden unpredictable onset of intense apprehension, fear, terror and sense of impending doom occurring on the average of at least once a week.” If you have OCD the SSA will evaluate if you have “recurrent obsessions or compulsions which are a source of marked distress.” If you have PTSD the SSA will evaluate if you have “recurrent and intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience, which are a source of marked distress.” The SSA will also evaluate your ability to complete activities of daily living, to maintain your social functions, and to maintain concentration, persistence, or pace. Finally, the SSA will evaluate how often you have episodes of decompensation. If you meet the SSA Listing outlined above and you meet the nonmedical requirements for SSDI you should be automatically awarded SSDI benefits.