Does Anxiety Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits?

by | Published on May 5, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Just as other panic disorders, PTSD and so on, anxiety also could qualify as a disability. To receive social security benefits for anxiety, one has to produce sufficient evidence to prove that he/she cannot work full-time because of the anxiety disorder. This evidence constitutes medical evidence that shows how the anxiety disorder matches the social security administration’s Blue Book requirements. Social security disability attorneys representing clients with severe anxiety disorder utilize medical records services to review the relevant medical documentation and extract the crucial evidence.

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What Are the Types of Anxiety Disorders?

  • OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder: In this type of anxiety, the person engages in repetitive behavior to reduce or control the symptoms of anxiety such as repetitive impulses or thoughts.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: It involves excessive worrying about everyday life events. This type of anxiety is not associated with a particular event or situation. If the condition has lasted at least six months, the SSA (Social Security Administration) may consider it a disability that qualifies for benefits.
  • Phobias: These include irrational and excessive fears about common situations, places, events, or things.
  • Post-traumatic Disorder: This is characterized by severe symptoms of anxiety that last for more than a month. It is typically caused by witnessing a traumatic event or by being part on one.
  • Panic Disorder: This condition is characterized by repeated attacks of anxiety that may last up to 10 minutes and have no particular cause.

Symptoms to Look for in the Medical Records

A medical record review team would look for the following symptoms recorded by healthcare providers in the claimant’s medical record.

  • Excessive fear or worry
  • Fear of crowds
  • Difficulty to focus on a particular thing
  • Constant feeling of danger
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating and shaking
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle tension
  • Heart palpitations

The above documentation that proves the anxiety disorder is required by the SSA to establish that the claimant is disabled.

Apart from the above symptoms, the SSA would also want to see that the claimant has been receiving regular treatment for his or her anxiety disorder. The medical records should contain the following key documentation.

  • Progress notes showing that the claimant is regularly reporting symptoms of anxiety to the healthcare provider or therapist
  • Mental status records that reveal any mental concerns of the applicant
  • Doctors’ notes regarding the effectiveness of the medications the claimant is consuming, including any side effects

Importantly, the claimant or his/her attorney will have to clearly explain to the SSA what happens as a result of the anxiety problem or how the anxiety affects the claimant’s everyday life.

Medical Chart Review to Prove Serious and Long-term Anxiety

The medical records should show the following things to prove that the claimant’s anxiety is serious and long-term.

  • The anxiety has persisted for at least two years
  • The claimant is receiving ongoing medical treatment for managing or diminishing his or her symptoms. This treatment could include mental therapy and other forms of support the claimant receives to help manage daily life. This includes rehabilitation programs to obtain psychosocial support, depending on family members to assist with daily activities, or living in a group home or transitional housing for round-the-clock care.

A comprehensive review of the medical records is vital to show that the applicant has been receiving continuous care. If the claimant has been inconsistent in receiving care, or hasn’t complied with the treatment, the claim could be denied.

Attorneys Utilize Medical Review Services to Extract Medical Proof

Claimants represented by a social security disability attorney have a better chance of securing SSDI benefits. With the support of reliable medical review services, disability attorneys extract the required medical evidence from the medical records and present it effectively to the SSA. This medical evidence would help establish that the claimant’s anxiety symptoms are so intense that it is impossible for him or her to properly care for themselves or complete their routine tasks. For example, people with post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, may have medical records demonstrating that they have been frequently hospitalized for anxiety symptoms or that they cannot support themselves without considerable support from another person. The medical records would also show evidence of treatments received such as medications, stress-reducing programs, and psychotherapy and the effectiveness of such treatments. Any such evidence can be efficiently identified and extracted more easily with the support of an experienced medical review team.

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