Unless you have lived with an anxiety disorder, it is impossible to understand how debilitating the condition can be. Tasks that other people find simple and ordinary can become a horrific nightmare. Something as easy as going to the grocery store to buy milk can become a heart-pounding ordeal. It is understandable that some of the individuals who suffer from an anxiety disorder are unable to work because of the condition. The resulting inability to pay for normal day-to-day living expenses only adds to the stress, making life more complicated and unbearable. Fortunately, Social Security Disability benefits can help those who suffer from an anxiety disorder. If you or someone you know is living with this condition and you are wondering if the disorder qualifies for Social Security Disability benefits, the following information can help.
Anxiety Disorder - Condition and Symptoms
Of all of the emotional disorders, anxiety disorders are the most common. More than 20 million people in the United States live with some form of anxiety disorder. The five most common types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social phobia, panic disorder and post-traumatic stress syndrome.
Those who suffer from anxiety disorders experience a variety of symptoms. People who live with generalized anxiety disorders experience regular anxiety, tension and worry even though there is no particular situation to be worried about. Those who live with panic disorders experience regular panic attacks that have no definable cause. Individuals living with obsessive-compulsive disorder perform unusual rituals or routines in order to manage their anxiety symptoms. Those with social phobia live with unreasonable, irrational fears about ordinary, everyday activities. People living with post-traumatic stress suffer from extreme anxiety due to having experienced or witnessed a traumatic event.
Many of the people who live with an anxiety disorder have to deal with regular feelings of fear and panic and have uncontrollable and obsessive thoughts. Physical symptoms are commonly experienced as well, with individuals suffering from increased heart rates, muscle tension, nausea, sweating and shaking.
Anxiety is actually a normal, healthy emotion. Normally, anxiety is coping mechanism that can help us deal with stressful situations. However, when a person suffers from an anxiety disorder the feelings of anxiety can grow out of control and can have a negative impact on one's lifestyle.
While there is no cure for anxiety disorders, treatments are available. Oftentimes psychotherapy and medications can be used to help manage the symptoms of the condition. However, individuals living with anxiety disorders may not respond to treatment. For these individuals, Social Security Disability benefits may be necessary since they are unable to work in public.
Filing for Social Security Disability with Anxiety Disorder
When you apply for Social Security Disability benefits due to an anxiety disorder an examiner will review your disability claim. This examiner will refer to a published listing of impairments that is used by the Social Security Administration to evaluate disability claims. Section 12.06 of this publication covers anxiety disorders.
In order to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits due to an anxiety disorder you will need to prove that your condition prevents you from performing any type of gainful work activity. This may be difficult to do since anxiety disorders are based on emotional criteria, which can be hard to document and prove medically. On account of this, it is important provide the Social Security Administration with as much proof as you can when submitting your application for disability benefits. Psychiatric records and statements from the medical professional that has been treating your condition will be crucial to the success of your Social Security Disability claim.
Anxiety Disorder and Your Social Security Disability Case
Since the severity of an anxiety disorder can be hard to prove, many of the Social Security Disability applications that are filed based on anxiety disorders are denied at the initial stage of the application process. In fact, only 30 percent of initial Social Security Disability applications are approved without the need for an appeal. The remaining 70 percent of applicants must go through the lengthy appeals process in order to obtain the benefits they are rightfully entitled to.
If you need assistance applying for disability benefits or appealing a disability denial you should consider retaining the services of a Social Security Disability attorney. The majority of applicants who appeal the SSA's decision to deny benefits will need to appear before an administrative law judge at a Social Security Disability hearing. Statistics show that your chances of obtaining benefits at this stage of the appeal process are increased with proper legal representation.