SSDI for Panic Disorder

As many as 11 percent of Americans suffer one or more panic attacks a year, and approximately 2 to 3 percent of U.S. residents have been diagnosed with panic disorder. Panic disorder is frequently diagnosed along with other disorders, including depression, anxiety, and phobias. If you have frequent, severe panic attacks, you may be entitled to SSDI benefits for panic disorder.

Applying for and obtaining SSDI benefits is a complicated process. Managing the application process on your own may be challenging, especially if you have frequent panic attacks. The skilled attorneys at Disability Advocates Group are here to help guide you through the entire process. We will gather all of the necessary documentation, submit a thorough application on your behalf, and appeal your case if it’s denied. 

Getting SSDI for Panic Attacks

The Social Security Administration (SSA) offers two main types of benefits programs: SSDI and SSI benefits. Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is available to workers who can no longer work due to a disability. Applicants must prove they have enough work credits from putting money into the Social Security system to be eligible. Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits are for individuals with disabilities who have limited assets and income.

The Social Security Administration has strict requirements for providing benefits to those with panic attacks. To obtain benefits, you’ll need to prove that the panic attacks interfere with your daily life to the point that you cannot work in your current field or any other job. Specifically, a panic attack must occur at least once per week for the SSA to consider your application. The attacks must be unpredictable and accompanied by any three of the following conditions:

  • An inability to leave home
  • Overwhelming social anxiety
  • An inability to provide self-care
  • An inability to focus on a single task

Medical Documentation

Providing the SSA with medical documentation is crucial. Ideally, a medical professional should keep detailed records of the types of panic attacks you have and when they occur and include notes about their severity. Seeing a mental health professional regularly in an attempt to treat panic attacks is beneficial. The SSA generally only considers issuing benefits when all treatment options have been unsuccessful.

Maintaining a consistent, ongoing relationship with your psychiatrist, psychologist, or other mental health professional can help you provide the SSA with the most documentation possible. Generally, the more documentation with specific information you provide, the more likely the SSA will approve your application. Your doctor or therapist’s notes should include the following information:

  • Your doctor’s impressions of how you’re reacting to medication
  • The difficulties you’re discussing in therapy sessions
  • How you’re acting and thinking during your visits, such as whether you’re anxious, angry, or tearful

What Is Panic Disorder?

Many people experience anxiety at one point or another during their lives. When anxiety becomes more severe, people may experience panic attacks. A doctor may diagnose you with panic disorder. Panic disorder is a serious anxiety disorder that results in multiple unexpected panic attacks. 

Panic attacks usually occur without warning and aren’t caused by a physical or mental health condition. In many cases, there isn’t a specific trigger for them. Peaking within ten minutes after they start, panic attacks often happen suddenly. Panic attacks can be debilitating and may include the following:

  • Racing heart
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing, such as hyperventilation
  • Chills
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Tingling or numbness of fingers or toes

In addition to these physical symptoms, sufferers may experience internal symptoms, such as feelings of terror, fear of losing control, and depersonalization.

Diagnosing Panic Disorder

The criteria for panic disorder are outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). To be diagnosed with panic disorder, you will need to show that you have experienced repeated, unexpected panic attacks. You’ll also need to prove you’ve experienced one month or longer of the following:

  • Persistent worrying about having even more panic attacks or the consequences of the panic attacks
  • Changing your behaviors to avoid situations you think may trigger a panic attack

Getting Help with Applying for SSDI Benefits

Obtaining benefits for a mental health condition can be more challenging than for a physical disability. The Social Security Administration denies the majority of first-time applications. Working with an attorney can help you ensure you’re submitting a thorough application with all required documentation. 

When you work with Disability Advocates Group, we will walk you through the process of gathering the information you need. We can help you ask your therapist or doctor to write a medical source statement outlining the specific limitations you experience due to your panic disorder. 

The examiner reviewing your application will want to understand the full picture of how your panic disorder limits your life and ability to work. Writing down all of the ways your panic attacks limit your daily living activities can help you convey just how limiting the disorder is in your life. 

Appealing a Denial of Your Claim

You aren’t alone if you receive a letter from the SSA stating your claim has been denied. The majority of first-time applications are denied. It’s crucial you speak to an attorney as soon as possible. 

You only have a limited time to provide notice of your request for reconsideration. If the SSA denies that request, you can pursue a disability hearing. The attorneys at Disability Advocates Group have helped many clients like you successfully appeal denials of their claims at all stages.

Discuss Your Case with an SSDI Attorney in Los Angeles

If you’re unable to work because of panic disorder, you may be entitled to social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits. Working with a skilled attorney can help you through the application process, which can be difficult. 

The attorneys at Disability Advocates Group have helped thousands of Los Angeles residents apply for SSDI benefits they need and deserve. Don’t hesitate to contact Disability Advocates Group to learn more about whether you’re entitled to benefits.