Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Social Security Disability

OCD, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, is a chronic psychological disorder that generally causes repetitive, unwanted thoughts. These thoughts cause individuals with OCD to feel compelled to do the same tasks over and over. These behaviors are typically associated with a specific fear. For example, a fear of germs or illness may cause a person with OCD to wash his or her hands repeatedly.

The symptoms of OCD include:

  • Intense anxiety
  • Heightened concern regarding neatness, exactness, or order
  • Constant fear of doing something bad or embarrassing
  • Fear that harm will come to yourself or others
  • Fear of dirt or germs
  • Compulsive behaviors, such as washing hands, chewing on objects, or hoarding objects

Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits for OCD

While treatment can provide relief for OCD symptoms, most people with this illness experience mild forms of their symptoms for the rest of their lives. Because obsessive thoughts lead to compulsive actions, this condition can make it extremely difficult for an individual to work. In some cases, the compulsive actions performed by an individual with OCD can take hours out of the day, and lead to major depression or anxiety attacks. If your OCD symptoms are severe, you may be able to receive approval for Social Security Disability benefits.

How the SSA Evaluates Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is evaluated as an anxiety-related disorder, which is listed in the Social Security Disability blue book. In order to be approved, you must demonstrate that your symptoms meet the listed requirements.

In order to receive approval for SSD benefits, you must be able to demonstrate that your severe obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms:

  • Diversely affect your ability to communicate and socialize
  • Make it challenging for you to perform activities of daily living
  • Significantly impair your ability to concentrate and perform tasks

If your symptoms do not meet the specific requirements of the listing, but otherwise make it impossible for you to function and work at a job, you may still have a strong case for Social Security Disability benefits.

Medical Evidence Necessary to Receive Approval for SSD Benefits

In order to qualify for SSD benefits, it is necessary to provide medical documentation demonstrating the severity, longevity, and frequency of your symptoms. This evidence may include:

  • The results of psychiatric evaluations
  • Physician’s notes detailing the severity of your symptoms and your limitations
  • Detailed history of your treatments and medications
  • Evidence that you have made attempts to control your symptoms, but they continue to occur and cause restrictions

The Importance of Hiring a Social Security Disability Attorney for Your OCD Case

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a very unique mental illness that is not fully understood. It is not a condition that can be proven with the use of lab results or x-rays. This can make it difficult to adequately prove to the SSA the severity of your symptoms.

An experienced attorney will have the knowledge to prepare a strong application that includes all of the documentation and evidence that you will need to increase your chances of receiving an approval.