Wondering whether you can get disability for anxiety? We explain when you can get disability benefits for anxiety and what you have to show to qualify.
If you've been grappling with anxiety or panic disorders that have made it difficult to maintain employment, you might wonder, "Can I get disability for anxiety?" The answer is yes.
In 2021, over a million workers received disability for anxiety or other mental health conditions. This article will delve into the nature of anxiety disorders, how you can get disability for anxiety, and the steps you should take if you believe you qualify for benefits.
Yes, the Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes anxiety as a disability. However, individuals with anxiety often face hurdles in demonstrating that their condition warrants monthly Social Security disability benefits.
The Social Security Administration defines anxiety disorders as conditions where individuals experience excessive worry, anxiety, or fear that impedes their daily activities. Due to their condition, they may also steer clear of certain thoughts, objects, places, or individuals. Symptoms of anxiety often include restlessness, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, easy fatigue, and persistent thoughts or fears about safety.
The SSA categorizes anxiety disorders alongside a few similar mental disorders. Some common types of anxiety recognized as disabilities by the SSA include:
You might wonder, "How can you get disability for anxiety?" Generally, you can receive disability for anxiety if your condition renders you incapable of working or managing daily life independently. However, the SSA has stringent criteria for who can receive benefits due to anxiety or other mental health conditions.
Regrettably, the SSA won't simply take your word for it that anxiety prevents you from maintaining a job. You'll need medical evidence of your symptoms and their impact on your life. Your best option is to collaborate with a doctor (and possibly a disability lawyer) to accurately document your condition.
You may also find it easier to qualify for benefits if you can apply with multiple conditions, such as anxiety and depression.
To obtain disability for anxiety orders, including post-traumatic stress disorder and others, you must provide proof of (1) an anxiety disorder and (2) demonstrate that your anxiety disorder severely restricts your mental capabilities or show that you have severe anxiety that has persisted for at least two years.
If you are diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, proving it depends on the type of disorder:
The SSA takes into account four critical elements of your cognitive functions to assess the severity of your anxiety:
It's necessary to have medical documentation showing that your anxiety causes extreme restrictions in at least one domain or significant limitations in several. If you experience an extreme limitation, it implies you may struggle to function independently in that domain for a long period. In case of a marked limitation, your functioning capability is considerably hindered, but you can cope independently.
To prove to the SSA that your anxiety disorder is "serious and persistent," your medical documents must illustrate three aspects:
Even if your anxiety doesn't fulfill the above criteria, you still have the option to apply for disability benefits. It's crucial to demonstrate that your anxiety disorder hinders your ability to work.
Getting approval for disability can be a tough task. It's common for initial applications to get rejected unless they strictly adhere to SSA's criteria. But this shouldn't discourage you.
Only a fraction of applicants (about 20%) receive approval in the first application. You can always file an appeal and provide new medical proof, thereby strengthening your case before a judge. At this level, your odds of approval are significantly higher (more than half the applicants).
The mean disability payout for anxiety and other mental health issues stands at $1,232.97. If your anxiety disorder qualifies for benefits, the SSDI maximum disability payment is $3,627 per month, and the SSI maximum is $914 per month in 2023.
The law sets these amounts, which remain consistent across all conditions. Even if you qualify under different disabilities or have multiple conditions, it doesn't escalate your benefits.
Your actual disability payout will depend on factors such as your employment history, other income, and the value of any assets you own. It's possible to qualify for both SSDI and SSI simultaneously.
Here are some strategies to boost your chances of a successful claim:
If you are considering hiring an SSDI lawyer, it may also be helpful to know that they work on a contingency basis, meaning no upfront costs for you.
If your anxiety fits the criteria, your next move is to apply for disability benefits. Make this move as soon as possible. Given the length of the process, any delay might postpone the receipt of potential benefits.
Understanding the type of disability benefits you're applying for is crucial. Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) is typically accessible if you've been employed for at least five of the previous ten years and are now unable to work, offering the highest disability benefits.
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is based on your income level. Thus, even with minimal employment history over the last ten years, you could qualify if your income is low or nonexistent.
Anxiety disorders that severely impact your daily functioning, including your ability to work, can qualify for disability. These might include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and others, provided they're supported by substantial medical evidence.
On average, disability benefits for anxiety amount to $1,232.97. However, the maximum disability payment for Social Security disability benefits (or SSDI) is $3,627 per month, while the maximum SSI payment is $914 per month in 2023.
Yes, if anxiety significantly impairs your ability to function or work, it can be considered a disability under the relevant laws. However, the severity of the condition must be substantiated by medical documentation to be legally recognized as a disability.
Yes, if your anxiety is severe enough to interfere with your ability to work or perform daily activities, you may be eligible for disability benefits. However, approval requires meeting specific criteria set by the SSA, including substantial medical evidence of your condition.
Living with anxiety can be challenging, and it can be even more difficult when it prevents you from working. However, understanding how the SSA views anxiety as a disability and what criteria you need to meet can help you navigate applying for disability benefits.
Remember, working closely with your doctor and possibly a lawyer is essential to ensure you have the best chance of success.