Harlan Still & Koch

SSDI benefits for panic attacks

Many Missourians suffer from a mental disorder commonly referred to as "panic attacks." Panic attacks are acute episodes of anxiety that are brought on when the patient faces a particular object or situation. If the level of anxiety is sufficiently severe, the person will be unable to function in a work environment. This post will explain how repeated panic attacks can be the basis for a successful SSD claim for benefits.

Panic attacks are considered to be one of several anxiety-related disorders for which SSD benefits may be awarded. In these disorders, anxiety is either the predominant symptom or is the result of attempts to confront and master the cause of the disorder. A benefits claimant must produce medically documented findings showing one of the following: generalized persistent anxiety; persistent irrational fear of a specific object, activity or situation and a compelling desire to avoid the object, situation or activity; recurrent severe panic attacks resulting in sudden unpredictable onset of intense apprehension, fear or terror at least once per weak; recurrent obsessions or compulsions; or recurrent and intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience.

The anxiety disorder must also cause two of the following symptoms: a marked restriction in the person's daily living activities, social functioning, severe episodes of inability to maintain concentration or persistence; or it must cause complete inability to function outside of the person's home environment.

Mental illnesses can be difficult to prove because they depend almost exclusively on subjective symptoms and cannot be verified by an objective medical procedure such as a blood test, x-ray or scan. Anyone contemplating making a claim for SSDI benefits based upon panic attacks or some other mental disorder may wish to consult an attorney who specializes in handling SSDI claims. A knowledgeable attorney can provide an evaluation of the case and an estimate of the likelihood of obtaining benefits.

Source: Social Security Administration, "Disability Evaluation Under Social Security - 12.06 - Anxiety-related disorders," accessed on Nov. 13, 2016

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