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Is Anxiety A Disability (Social Security Benefits: Overview)

Is Anxiety A Disability?

You are wondering if you can get social security benefits for anxiety disorder?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our social security benefits knowledge!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

Is Anxiety A Disability

Anxiety or a generalized anxiety disorder is a condition where a person worries excessively about various aspects of their lives to a point where they are no longer able to properly function or get through the day.

While it is normal for everyone to have to worry about how they will pay their bills or be concerned for the health of a loved one, a person with a generalized anxiety disorder will be worried and anxious that they become overwhelmed to perform their daily activities.

As such, when the disorder is so severe that a person is unable to work, he or she may qualify for SSDI benefits.

Anxiety disorder refers to a psychiatric disorder where a person is severely worried or has extreme fears.

Anxiety disorder” is a mental disorder that can include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Agoraphobia
  • Social anxiety disorder 
  • Selective mutism
  • Separation anxiety
  • Specific phobias

Also, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are closely related mental disorders to anxiety.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America or ADAA, 18.1% of adults in the United States suffer from anxiety out of which 37% will seek medical treatment.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms

How do you know that you have anxiety as a disability?

Although your specific condition must be evaluated by an experienced disability lawyer, you must determine if you have a “disability” that qualifies for Social Security benefits.

The first step is to evaluate your anxiety symptoms by asking yourself a few questions:

  • Do you worry constantly about life?
  • Are you constantly worried about others?
  • Do you worry when there’s little reason to worry?
  • Do your daily activities result in high levels of stress and anxiety?
  • Are you chronically worried?
  • Do you worry that things will never improve?

A mental disorder may manifest itself in different ways.

As a general rule, if the stress, anxiety, and fear is so extreme and intense that it prevents you from performing your daily responsibilities, there may be signs that you are suffering from anxiety.

Here are some possible symptoms that a person with anxiety disorder may experience:

  • Excessive worrying 
  • Unable to control the worrying 
  • Difficulty to relax
  • Difficulty to keep attention
  • Difficulty concentrating 
  • Panic attacks 
  • Inability to fall asleep due to worrying thoughts
  • “Racing thoughts”
  • Daily fatigue 
  • Headaches 
  • Stomachaches 
  • Physical pain 
  • Mood changes
  • Irritability 

The National Institute of Mental Health breaks down anxiety disorder into:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobia disorders 

You may want to consult with a medical professional to evaluate your mental condition.

Eventually, you will then need to consult with a Social Security Disability Lawyer to determine if your medical condition qualifies for disability benefits.

Can You Get Disability For Anxiety

From a legal perspective, anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and severe anxiety are considered a disability.

The Social Security laws define a disability as follows:

Inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity (SGA) by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months

In other words, if a person cannot earn a living (substantial gainful activity) for a medical reason that can include “mental impairment” expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months, then the law considers the condition as a disability.

In many cases, doctors and health professionals can prescribe medication and treat a person’s anxiety.

However, there are extreme cases where the mental disorder is so severe that even with medical treatments, a person’s ability to engage in a substantial gainful activity will be limited.

If the mental condition of anxiety meets the “disability” thresholders provided by the Social Security disability laws, then a person may be qualified.

It’s crucial to have a health professional adequately diagnose the condition so that a social security attorney can assess the eligibility for social security benefits.

Qualification of “Anxiety” As Qualifying “Disorder”

Everyone suffers from stress and anxiety in their lives.

This does not mean that everyone will qualify to get social security income benefits nor will the anxiety be qualified as a “disorder”.

If you are wondering how to get approved for disability for anxiety, your medical condition must meet the strict requirements of the law.

The Social Security Administration has a specific process for evaluating anxiety disorder applications.

For the SSA to approve your disability application, you must demonstrate that your anxiety is so severe that it prevents you from keeping a job or work.

In addition, the anxiety must be so severe that you can demonstrate that you are suffering with important limitations in your life, such as:

  • You cannot concentrate enough to follow instructions
  • You cannot learn something new
  • You cannot understand directives
  • You cannot interact with others properly
  • You cannot complete tasks
  • You cannot manage your personal life and daily tasks 

In some situations, a person may qualify to receive disability benefits although there may not be any anxiety disorder symptoms.

In that case, it must be demonstrated that you had the disability for at least two years and disorder has improved with your doctor’s treatment or psychological support over time but going back to work may represent an important setback.

Keep in mind that this article is intended to give you general guidelines about anxiety disability allowance and if anxiety counts as a disability.

Anyone looking to file an application for social security benefits should consult a medical professional and a qualified lawyer or law firm.

Filing A Disability Claim 

If you are chronically dealing with anxiety persisting over time and you qualify to obtain disability benefits, you must formally make a request by filing a disability application.

It may be confusing at times if you are entitled to Social Security disability insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

If you have any doubts, you may want to apply for both.

You have the option of filing the application yourself or you can obtain legal support from a lawyer or disability law firm.

In your application, you must include a full description of your mental disorder, show its intensity, how it has affected your life and ability to work, how long you’ve been dealing with the disability, and so on.

When a person does not qualify under the SSA impairment listings, when evaluating your application, the SSA will consider your symptoms and determine if there may be a possibility for you to do another type of work.

In this process, the SSA will provide the claimant with a rating indicating what type of work he or she may do such as skilled work, semi-skilled work, unskilled work, or something else.

This evaluation is called the residual functional capacity (RFC) evaluation.

Qualifying Under the Social Security Listing of Impairments

For anxiety to qualify for social security benefits, an applicant must meet the Social Security’s Listing of Impairment requirements.

Under the Social Security Listing 12.6 covers the requirements to qualify for all anxiety-related disorders.

The anxiety must be have at least three or more of the following characteristics:

  • Restlessness
  • Easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance

In addition to the above, the disorder must be characterized by an “extreme limitation” of one, or “marked limitation” of two of the following:

  • Understand, remember, or apply information
  • Interact with others
  • Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace
  • Adapt or manage oneself

A person with anxiety can also qualify if the mental disorder is “serious and persistent”, medically documented for at least two years and there is evidence of both the following:

  • Medical treatment, mental health therapy, psychological support, or highly structured settings that is ongoing and that diminishes the symptoms and signs of mental disorder
  • Marginal adjustment where you have minimal capacity to adapt to changes in your environment

Disability For Anxiety Takeaways 

So, is anxiety considered a disability?

Can I get disability for anxiety?

How to get disability for anxiety?

A person may get social security benefits when the mental disorder is so severe and debilitating that it prevents the person from performing daily life tasks.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Is Anxiety A Disability

  • Many people suffer from anxiety but that does not mean that everyone qualifies to get SSDI benefits
  • To get Social Security benefits, your anxiety must be considered as a “mental disorder” that qualifies under the social security laws
  • Anxiety symptoms that are so severe that prevents a person to function in society and earn a living may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits or Supplemental Security Income 
  • Anxiety disorder is characterized by constant and persistent feelings of apprehension, worry, and fear
Adult Listing
Blue book 
Residual functional capacity 
Social Security Administration
Social Security Disability Income
SSDI application
SSDI backpay 
SSDI benefits
SSDI death benefits
Supplemental Security Income
Americans with Disabilities Act 
Bipolar disorder 
How Long Does It Take To Get Disability With A Lawyer
Medical vocational allowance 
Presumptive disability 
PTSD Disability 
Social anxiety disorder 
Social security disability attorney 
What does a disability lawyer do
What mental disorders qualify for social security disability

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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