How To Apply For Ssdi With Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Before receiving disability benefits, you must apply and qualify. Social Security Disability Insurance pays benefits to people who have a history of working and paying their FICA taxes in the U.S. If you do not have a work history, you may be able to use your spouses or your parents work record, or you can apply for a different disability program called SSI.
If you have sufficient work history, the SSA will process your application, which can take a few months. The application will ask questions about your disorder and your condition and may require your psychologist or psychiatrist to supply information as well. This information should be as full and detailed as possible. If the SSA needs additional information or wants you to undergo an examination to confirm your condition, they may reject your application until full information can be provided.
Working with a disability attorney is one of the ways to improve your chances of having your application accepted on the first submission and getting the benefits you need as soon as you can. Working with an attorney statistically improves your chances of having your application accepted on the first submission. Our attorneys have decades of experience working with disability applicants, and we can put that experience to work on your case by helping you ensure that your application is full and complete.
If You Need To Talk To Someone
If you need to talk to someone, you could try these helplines and befriending services:
Scopes online community is a supportive space for disabled people, parents and carers. You can get disability advice and talk to people with similar experiences.
The Mix supports adults under 25. They have a helpline, email and live chat service. You can talk to an adviser about anything you’re worried about.
CALM runs a confidential information service. You can call or use webchat. Staff are trained to listen, support and give information. Open from 5pm to midnight.
The Silver Line is a free and confidential helpline for older people. They provide information, friendship and advice to older people. It’s open 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
SupportLine is a charity for people at risk or in abusive situations.
Nextdoor is an organisation that can help you to meet people in your local community.
The Befriending Network has a directory of local befriending services.
Mind’s Peer Support Service links you with local people to share your experiences of mental health.
Last reviewed by Scope on: 13/09/2021
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Showing Reduced Productivity Due To Moderate Depression
Another way to win your claim for disability is to prove that your moderate depression or anxiety, when combined with your severe physical impairment, will result in a 20% reduction in your productivity in the workplace.
You or your attorney can present this argument at the hearing level by discussing the combined side effects of your medications. For example, most anxiety and depression medications can cause fatigue, insomnia, headaches, or restlessness. Pain medication can likewise cause difficulty in thinking and concentration, along with excessive sleepiness. During your hearing, your attorney and the administrative law judge will ask you questions to determine the extent of how the medications affect you. Examples of these questions are:
- Do you watch television? If so, can you watch an entire one-hour show?
- Do you like to read? If so, do you read magazines or books?
- How many hours do you sleep at night?
- Do you sleep during the day?
- What time do you go to bed during the day? What time do you wake up?
- Are you able to drive when you take your medications?
- Have you tried any other medications?
- Do you pay your bills or does someone help you?
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Getting Disability Benefits For Mental Health Issues
The Social Security Administration acknowledges the impact that anxiety and depression disorders can have on a persons ability to make a living and get by in society. Both of these families of conditions are considered qualifying medical disorders for establishing eligibility for disability payments.
The process of applying for disability with anxiety or depression is the same as it is for physical disabilities. In order to get benefits, you must submit an application with the Social Security office in your local area. Be prepared to submit documentation of your condition from a doctor or psychiatrist who has treated you. Ask relatives, friends and people who know you whether they can write brief statements about how your mental health and ability to function have been affected by the anxiety or depression. These statements are not definitive, but they can help paint a whole picture for the disability eligibility reviewers.
Social Security’s Listing For Anxiety
Social Security’s listing for anxiety disorders, listing 12.06, has several parts.
The first part of the listing specifies that, to qualify for disability benefits on the basis of anxiety, you must have a diagnosis of anxiety disorder with at least three of the following symptoms:
sleep disturbance , and/or
getting tired easily.
The second part of the listing requires you to also meet “functional” criteria to show that you have a loss of abilities due to the disorder. Specifically, you must have an extreme limitation in at least one of the following areas, or a “marked” limitation in at least two of the following areas:
- understanding, remembering, or applying information
- interacting with others
- concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace in performing tasks , and/or
- adapting or managing oneself .
“Marked” is worse than moderateyou can think of it as seriously limiting. Extreme is less severe than a complete loss of an ability, but worse than marked. Marked and extreme are matters of professional judgment that an SSA psychiatrist or psychologist will decide when reviewing your medical evidence.
Alternative to the second part of the listing. Some disability applicants can’t show that they currently have marked or extreme functional limitations because their anxiety has improved due to living in a highly structured or protected situation or undergoing intense therapy. In this case, there’s an alternative to the second part of the listing.
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Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Health Disorders
The DSM is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health disorders and its used by clinicians to diagnose and treat mental disorders so basically most policies say if you have a condition that pops up in the hundreds of pages of the DSM that is a mental health condition. One trend they have noticed is the exclusion of conditions and theyre going to read it to you from the UNUM because this one seems to be the most consistent, a mental disorder means any disorder except dementia resulting from a stroke, trauma, infections or degenerative disease such as Alzheimer. So basically what its doing is its excluding any condition that is caused by a structural, a structural process such as dementia that results from Alzheimers or a stroke which can cause cognitive issues.
So, what does that mean to you? Well first, its a wake-up call that your disability policy may cut off after 24 months, second that means we need to do an investigation together. The first thing theyre going to do when you contact a Disability Attorney is theyre going to check the policy to see which one of these limitations applies to you and the second thing theyre going to do and this is what they often do in cases, is they are going to find out is that why youre disabled maybe it is, and well work with that if thats the case but maybe thats a secondary condition.
How Does The Social Security Administration List Anxiety
The SSA lists anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders in Section 12.06 of the Blue Book. The Blue Book is a listing of conditions which the SSA considers to be disabling. For each condition, the SSA provides specific criteria which a persons condition must meet in order to be deemed disabled and eligible for benefits.
Among the anxiety disorders that the medical community widely recognizes are:
- Generalized anxiety disorder Being in a constant state of worry or tension for no specific reason for more than six months
- Panic disorder Attacks of terror or anxiety that repeatedly appear unprovoked
- Social phobia Overwhelming and irrational fears of events, situations, or objects
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder When a person tries to control intrusive thoughts or impulses by performing repetitive behaviors.
The SSA once evaluated post-traumatic stress disorder an anxiety disorder. Today, the SSA has a separate Blue Book listing for PTSD. It is found in Section 12.15, or trauma- and stressor-related disorders.
To qualify for disability due to an anxiety disorder, under Section 12.06 of the Blue Book, you must present medical documentation which meets a two-part test. First, the medical evidence must establish that you suffer from three or more of the following symptoms:
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance.
Second, you must show extreme limitation or marked limitation of the following:
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Basic Eligibility For Benefits
The SSA must see that you meet basic eligibility requirements before further reviewing your application for benefits. This basic eligibility includes having:
- A formal diagnosis of a potentially disabling condition
- A diagnosed condition that will disable you for 12 months of longer
After the SSA confirms that you meet basic eligibility, they will then move on to review your medical condition in detail and verify that you meet all program requirements for SSDI and/or SSI.
Approval Rates For Mood And Anxiety Disorders On Appeal
If youve received an initial denial letter because you didnt meet Social Securitys medical criteria, thats no reason to give up. If you request a hearing before an administrative law judge , the likelihood of receiving benefits goes up dramatically. Government statistics from 2007-2015 show that nearly six in ten applicants who listed mood or anxiety disorders as their primary impairment were approved after a hearing.
Several factors contribute to the better outlook at hearings. For one thing, it takes a long time to get to a hearing. While the wait can be frustrating, it can help you build stronger evidence. This is particularly critical with mood and anxiety disorders. If you can show that your mental condition has continued to be severe and to keep you from working, a judge is more likely to be convinced that youre eligible for disability benefits, and that your condition isnt short-term.
Our survey points to another important reason for the higher approval rate at hearings: More applicants enlist the help of a lawyer at this stage in the process. Nearly three-quarters of all readers who went to a hearing were represented by an attorney, compared to 30% at the initial application stage. And applicants with lawyers had a much greater chance of winning disability benefits .
Requirement Of Specific Medical Evidence
Your psychiatrist or psychologist may have diagnosed you with a general anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , panic disorder , or agoraphobia .
The SSA will likely want to review all psychiatric tests and examinations relevant to the diagnosis of anxiety, as well as any treatment reports from your doctor that indicate you have been regularly reporting anxiety symptoms.
Ensure that your medical records describe the full range of symptoms experienced as a result of your anxiety. What would you do, for example, if you were at work and had a panic attack? Do your symptoms force you to miss work on a recurring basis? Do you self-isolate and avoid others regularly?
Do you suffer in silence, unable to complete work-related tasks because your memory and concentration are so affected by your condition?
You should seek medical advice from your doctor about your anxiety and its causes. You should discuss with your doctor how the anxiety disorder affects your ability to function and perform routine daily activities. If possible, obtain a letter from previous employers or colleagues about job absences and performance due to anxiety symptoms.
How To Apply For Disability Benefits For Depression
Applying for benefits begins with filling out the Social Security Disability Application. You can do this over the phone, online, or by walking into your nearest Social Security Office. You will need your Social Security number and proof of your age , along with the names and contact information for any medical professionals that were involved in your treatment or diagnosis. You will also need names and dosages of your medications, medical records, lab results , a summary of where you worked and what was involved in your job, and the most recent W-2 or Federal Tax Return .
The review process can take a while. In many cases, it will take anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Thankfully there is Social Security Disability Back Pay that will be dated to the time of your application. Even so, you will most likely want to line up other resources while you wait for your SSDI Award Letter to arrive.
One of the first things the SSA will do is determine whether or not you are working at a substantial gainful activity level. The SGA level is a threshold to determine if you need financial assistance in the form of SSDI. As of 2020, substantial gainful activity is deemed to be earnings over $1,260, either as wages or as net profit if you are self-employed. If you are legally blind, that threshold is raised to $2,110. You are allowed to deduct Impairment-Related Work Expenses such as medical treatment from your wages or net profit.
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Applying For Ssdi/ssi Benefits For Anxiety Disorders
If you apply for disability benefits related to an anxiety disorder, the Social Security Administration will review your review your disorder under the Adult Listings, which is a set of criterial that measures that severity of your anxiety and may qualify you for benefits.
This is a strict test. To qualify for benefits under the Adult Listings, you must meet the conditions of either Paragraphs Aand B below,OR the conditions of Paragraphs A and C below. This is not a maybe test all the required conditions must be met to qualify for benefits.
A: You must have medical documentation ofone of the following:
- Constant generalized anxiety, with three of the following four symptoms: motor tension, vigilance and scanning, autonomic hyperactivity, or apprehensive expectation.
- Constant irrational fear of a situation, object, or activity that results in a significant desire to avoid the situation, object, or activity.
- Recurring severepanic attacks that are characterized by sudden unpredictable episodes of intense fear, apprehension, terror, and a sense of impending doom that happen at least once a week.
- Recurrent compulsions or obsessions that cause marked distress.
- Recurring intrusive remembrances of a traumatic experience that causes marked distress.
B: The condition under Paragraph A must result in at leasttwo of the following:
- Repeated periods of decompensation, each of extended duration.
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After You Apply For Benefits
Your claim will be assigned to a specialist for review, and you may be required to attend an interview or even undergo a consultative mental exam with an SSA-approved psychiatrist or psychologist to verify your condition. The process can take several months, but the more evidence and medical documentation you are able to provide, the better your chances of being able to get your claim approved.
Note that the rules regarding disability for children are different for more information, see our article on disability benefits for anxiety in children.
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Disability Caused By Anxiety Disorder
First, let’s look at how the SSA evaluates the severity of anxiety disorders. Before it pays benefits, the SSA requires a mental disorder to be so severe that it disrupts your life to a point where you become unable to work at any type of job . In addition to fitting within a specific diagnosis below , your anxiety disorder must cause severe limitations in the following areas:
- understanding and remembering instructions and learning new things
- interacting with others appropriately
- concentrating and persisting to complete tasks, and/or
- managing oneself
Alternatively, you might be able to qualify without having symptoms of the above limitations if your anxiety has improved with medication or psychosocial support, but your recovery is tenuous and you could experience a setback if you go back to work. To qualify under this alternative, your anxiety must be medically documented as having lasted at least two years, and you must have minimal capacity to adjust to changes in your environment or an increase in mental demands.
How Does The Process Work
You receive a Ticket in the mail. You take this Ticket to any Employment Network or State Vocational Rehabilitation agency , and if you both agree to work together, the EN or VR will help you with job training, finding employers, information about work incentives, materials to send to prospective employers, and other tasks that will help you go to work. Participating in the Ticket to Work program means that youre protected from a Continuing Disability Review based on your potential ability to work.
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