Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a medical condition that can make maintaining a full-time job difficult. Individuals with OCD may experience anxiety, motor tension, panic attacks, and recurrent obsession or compulsions. Individuals with severe OCD may have difficulty obtaining or keeping full-time employment, increasing their financial strain.
If you cannot work because of OCD symptoms, you may be entitled to monthly Social Security disability benefits. Obtaining Social Security benefits with a mental health diagnosis like OCD can be challenging. Working with one of the experienced attorneys at Disability Advocates group can help you submit a thorough, accurate application. Contact the Los Angeles disability benefits attorneys at Disability Advocates Group to schedule a free case evaluation.
What Is OCD?
OCD is a chronic, psychiatric medical condition that can cause multiple symptoms, including unwelcome thoughts and fears or obsessions. Anxiety can build up due to a person’s obsession, and a person may feel like the only way to get rid of the anxiety is to perform a compulsive activity. For those with OCD, the only way to alleviate these obsessive thoughts can be by performing specific repetitive actions or compulsions.
The symptoms of OCD can become constant and uncontrollable, resulting in significant challenges for the individual in all aspects of his or her life. Maintaining the continuous cycle of obsessive-compulsive behavior can disrupt a person’s professional life. The intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors can become so significant that maintaining gainful employment becomes impossible.
Is OCD Considered a Disability for Social Security Benefits?
When evaluating applications for disability benefits, Social Security claims adjusters use a guide called the Blue Book, which lists all approved medical conditions for disability benefits. Until recently, the Social Security Administration (SSA) didn’t recognize OCD as a disabling medical condition. However, the organization updated its list of qualifying conditions in 2017, adding OCD. Having a diagnosis of OCD isn’t enough to obtain benefits. Applicants must prove that their OCD diagnosis meets all the additional criteria under the OCD listing in the Blue Book.
Specific Requirements When Applying for Benefits Under the Blue Book
The Social Security administration’s Blue Book lists OCD under section 12.06 under the category of anxiety-related disorders. All medical diagnoses under the anxiety-related category require applicants to demonstrate that they experienced general and lasting anxiety that caused at least three of the following symptoms:
- Physical tension
- Pronounced apprehension
- Uncontrolled hyperactivity
Applicants need to include medical documentation showing that they experienced recurrent:
- Severe panic attack
- Obsessions and compulsions
- Irrational fears
- Flashbacks or disruptive memories of trauma
Additionally, you will need to prove that you engage in repetitive behaviors to leave your anxiety. Those applying for benefits with OCD need to show that they either cannot function outside of their own home or that their symptoms caused them to experience limitations with two or more of the following:
- Severe restrictions on performing everyday activities, called Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
- Pronounced difficulting with social interactions or functioning
- Difficulty maintaining focus, concentrating or completing tasks and activities at a reasonable pace
- Extended and recurrent periods when symptoms worsen are called “Episodes of Decompensation.”
Obtaining Benefits When You Don’t Meet the Blue Book Criteria
If you do not meet all of the requirements under the listing for OCD in the Blue Book, you may still be able to obtain benefits. You will qualify for benefits if you can show that your OCD has lasted at least two years, that’s, you have sought professional treatment for your OCD, and that you are still unable to adapt to the demands of day-to-day life. To prove that you qualify, you must complete a residual functional capacity (RFC) test to demonstrate that your condition prevents you from working.
Suppose you are approved for benefits for OCD without meeting the Blue Book listing criteria for anxiety-related disorders. In that case, you can still receive a “Medical Vocational Allowance.” This award means that you do suffer from an impairment that means the overall requirements for Social Security disability benefits, but that you don’t meet the predefined listing of a specific medical condition in the Blue Book.
Providing Medical Evidence of Your Diagnosis and Limitations
When you apply for benefits, It’s always important to include medical evidence of your condition. Your application will depend on medical evidence whether you can meet the Blue Book criteria or are awarded a Medical Vocational Allowance. Providing proof of all the ways your condition impairs you is especially important when trying to qualify for a mental health condition.
The Blue Book listing for an OCD diagnosis requires you to submit medical documentation showing that you suffer from an involuntary obsession with intrusive, unwanted thoughts. Your records must clearly and extensively show the following:
- A qualified medical professional has formally diagnosed you with OCD
- You have received regular treatment from a qualified medical professional, preferably a psychiatrist
- You experience primary symptoms of anxiety-related disorders
- You experience recurrent periods of decompensation and other limitations
The Benefits of Working with a Skilled Attorney
Gathering all medical documentation can be overwhelming, especially for those with psychiatric conditions such as OCD. One of the attorneys at Disability Advocates Group can help you gather evidence demonstrating that you cannot continue performing work at your old job because of your OCD diagnosis. We will also help you gather evidence showing that, given your condition, there are no other jobs that you can reasonably perform satisfactorily.
Schedule a Complimentary, No-Obligation Consultation
If you are unable to work because of your OCD symptoms, it’s crucial that you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible. You may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits that can help you cover your living expenses. The attorneys at Disability Advocates Group are here to help you throughout the entire process, from submitting your application to the appeals process. Contact Disability Advocates Group today to schedule your free, no-obligation case evaluation and learn more about your rights.