The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) maintains a listing of medical requirements for impairments. If your medical record establishes that you meet every element of the Listing for your impairment, your Social Security disability benefits will be awarded at Step 3 of the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation. Anxiety-related disorders are included in the SSA’s Listing of Impairments. SSA will review your medical records and look for at least one of the following conditions:
- Generalized anxiety, with muscle tension, apprehension, hyperactivity and/or hyper-alertness
- Panic that is severe, ongoing, with recurrent panic attacks that occur on average at least once a week
- OCD that is continued, ongoing obsessive or compulsive behavior that causes significant distress,
- PTSD that is continued, ongoing and intense recollections of a traumatic event, or
- Phobia that is an ongoing dread or fear that is not rational, and compels the individual to avoid the situation, person, or activity causing that fear.
Additionally, you must either be completely unable to function outside of your home or experience serious interference with two of the following:
- Daily life
- Proper social function
- Concentrating, persisting in a task or functioning at an appropriate pace, or
- Having continual periods of decompensation that last for long times.
It can be difficult to get the medical proof you need. Many medical records just don’t have the necessary detail to establish that your anxiety is disabling enough to meet or equal a listing. However, if you are denied at Step 3 of the Five-Step Sequential Evaluation, don’t worry. SSA will then determine your entitlement to benefits based on medical and vocational criteria at Steps 4 and 5.
If in fact you or someone you care for are struggling with anxiety to the point where your/their ability to work has been compromised, contact Ellis & Associates at 1-800-Mr. Ellis for advice as to whether Social Security disability benefits may be an appropriate resource to pursue.
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