Will an Anxiety Disorder Qualify You for Disability Benefits?

By Michelle Shvarts
Principal Attorney

Most people immediately begin thinking about physical limitations when disability is mentioned. There is, however, a variety of disabilities that relate to mental and emotional capabilities. Mental and emotional disabilities can limit a person’s ability to retain gainful employment just as much, and more in some cases, than a physical disability. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes this as well and offers disability benefits to those with qualifying mental and emotional disabilities. Whether something such as an anxiety disorder will qualify you for disability benefits will depend on a number of relevant factors that will be taken into consideration by the SSA.

Will an Anxiety Disorder Qualify You for Disability Benefits?

An anxiety disorder is often recognized as feelings of extreme stress, worry, and fear which take control of everyday actions. Common symptoms of an anxiety disorder include difficulty concentrating, feelings of panic, and avoiding certain situations at all costs. While an anxiety disorder can range in severity, it may be so intense that it impacts a person’s ability to function at work or at home. When the disorder rises to this level, a person may be eligible for disability benefits.

Anxiety disorders can be found under Section 12.06, which covers mental disorders, of the SSA’s Blue Book. The Blue Book lists conditions that would qualify an individual for disability benefits. To qualify under an “Adult Listing” of the Blue Book, a person must meet a strict set of conditions. First, the condition must be met that you must have medical documentation of experiencing something such as severe panic attacks or other signs of extreme distress. In addition, you must exhibit something like problems concentrating or difficulties with persistence and pace. In the alternative, you may be able to demonstrate that the anxiety disorder supported by the medical documentation has caused a complete inability to function independently outside of your home.

Medical evidence of your anxiety disorder will play a critical role in SSA’s determination as to whether or not you qualify for disability benefits. The medical documentation must support the assertion that your anxiety disorder rises to a level where you have been unable to work for a minimum of 12 months or that your symptoms are so severe that it is not likely that you will be able to go back to work for a minimum of 12 months. To support this assertion, be prepared to provide SSA with your treatment records, including the results of any psychological testing you have undergone, a list of your current medication, as well as any treatment notes that address the severity of your symptoms.

Disability Attorney

Having a mental or emotional disability such as an anxiety disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a very real thing that countless Americans suffer from and prevents them from maintaining a way to make a living. Disabilities Advocates is here for you. Should you suffer from an anxiety disorder that continues to prevent you from holding a job, we can help you access disability benefits. Contact us today.

About the Author
Ms. Shvarts is the managing attorney for Disability Advocates Group. She opened Disability Advocates Group to assist individuals who became disabled and unable to work to obtain the benefits they need and deserve.  Ms. Shvarts and the rest of the team at Disability Advocates Group are dedicated to assisting individuals obtain Social Security Disability Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.