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Anxiety disorders and social security disability benefits

Social security disability benefits are available for a wide variety of illnesses, but perhaps the most difficult type of disability to establish is one resulting from a type of mental illness called anxiety disorder. An SSD claim based on an anxiety order is difficult to prove because most, if not all, of the medical evidence is based upon subjective evaluation of the patient by a psychologist or other therapist. Nevertheless, such claims are often approved, and an understanding of the various categories of anxiety disorder can be helpful in gathering supporting evidence.

A generalized anxiety disorder is a more or less constant state of tension and worry not related to a specific event or situation. A state of generalized anxiety disorder must last for six months to qualify for disability benefits. Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is repetitive or ritualistic behavior that used to control other symptoms of anxiety. Panic Disorder or panic attacks are repeated states of acute anxiety or fear that have no identifiable cause. Phobias are overwhelming and irrational fears of otherwise unthreatening situations, things, places, or events. Post-traumatic stress disorder is severe stress caused by experiencing or witnessing an especially traumatic event. (We will deal with each of these conditions in greater detail in subsequent posts.)

Successful proof of a disability claim based on an anxiety disorder requires proof of continuing medical care, psychotherapy, medication and other stress-reducing techniques. An applicant must also submit the opinion of a qualified care provider that the condition meets the Social Security Administration’s definition of disability, both as to the specific condition and the general definition of disability.

Anyone interested in applying for disability benefits based upon an anxiety disorder may wish to consult a lawyer who specializes in handling disability claims. An experienced lawyer can provide advice on the type of evidence that is required, assist in assembling the exhibits that must be attached to an application and provide advice on appeal rights if a claim should be denied.

Source: Social Security Disability Help, “Anxiety Disorders and Social Security Disability,” accessed on April 18, 2016


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