Anxiety disorders are a form of mental illness that affect roughly 40 million people in the US. Despite anxiety being the most common mental illness, it is often under-treated and many forms go undiagnosed. While anxiety affects all people differently, and symptoms and severity can differ greatly from person to person, there is no denying that anxiety and anxiety-related disorders can be a heavy burden.

Anxiety Symptoms and Complications

The symptoms of anxiety come in many forms and many degrees of severity. Some people with more extreme conditions will find daily life a struggle due to their symptoms, such as obsessive thoughts, crippling feelings of fear and panic, being easily fatigued, having concentration difficulties, intrusive and painful memories, restlessness, sleep disturbance, irritability, and recurring nightmares. Other people will have anxiety surface in physical forms, including muscle tension, uneasiness in the stomach, a pounding heart, or being easily startled, for example.

Anxiety can affect people in nearly every aspect of their lives, from struggling at work to being unable to leave the house for groceries. It is unknown if anxiety is genetic, triggered by environmental factors or a combination of both. Some anxiety disorders are caused by traumatic experiences. The five major categories of anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social phobia/social anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Some people do not respond to the two types of treatments most successful in people with anxiety, which are psychotherapy and medication. And, when these treatments do work, they are often not a cure, but rather a way to manage the illness, to help people get through their days somewhat more easily.

Many people are able to treat their disorders and find a way to lead mostly happy and productive lives. They may become able to work and enjoy time with friends and family. Sometimes, unfortunately, this isn’t the case – and that’s where Social Security Disability Insurance can be quite helpful.

Does Anxiety Qualify Me for Disability Benefits like SSDI?

People with severe cases of anxiety may indeed qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.

Anxiety and related disorders are included in the Social Security Administration’s “Blue Book” listing of impairments, in Section 12 (Mental Disorders), specifically under part 12.06 (Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders).

In these sections, the SSA lists specifically a variety of disabling conditions that applicants may meet or equal in order to be considered disabled. Broadly speaking, the SSA is looking for a combination of symptoms and effects that together add up to create ‘extreme’ and/or ‘marked’ limitations on one’s capacity to function physically and/or mentally. Even if a person does not meet or equal a listed impairment because of their anxiety, their condition still may affect their “residual functional capacity” enough to prevent them from being able to sustain work.

Individuals who do not have severe enough symptoms to prevent them from continuing in their previous job, or who could sustain work in another job in the national economy likely will not qualify.

But, individuals whose symptoms in combination rise to the level of a severe impairment that will prevent you from sustaining work, and has affected you, or is expected to affect you, for at least one year, or to result in death, you may very well qualify for disability benefits.

Anxiety disorders are very common in America today, and there is no denying the heavy burden they place on the individuals who have them, as well as those people’s families. SSDI may not be available for all of them, but for those who qualify, these benefits could be extremely helpful.

Next Steps

If you or a loved one have Anxiety or related disorders and are considering a claim for disability benefits, we recommend you read our articles about the process of applying for SSDI and the way the Social Security Administration uses their Sequential Evaluation Process to determine disability.

This article is presented for general information purposes only. Nothing in this article should be taken as medical advice. Medical decisions (including whether to start, stop, or modify any treatment plan) are extremely important and should always be made with the advice and counsel of a qualified medical professional.

About Citizens Disability, LLC:

Since 2010, Citizens Disability has been America’s premier Social Security Disability institution. Our services include helping people in applying for SSDI benefits, managing the process through Reconsideration, and representing people in person at their Hearing, and if necessary, bringing their case to the Appeals Council. Our mission is to give a voice to the millions of Americans who are disabled and unable to work, helping them receive the Social Security Disability benefits to which they may be entitled. Learn more about us and disability benefits like SSDI & SSI or give us a call at (800)492-3260.