Is anxiety disorder a disability?

In the United States, the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides benefits for people with disabilities. The program provides financial assistance to individuals who meet the requirements of disability insurance.

Anxiety disorders belong to the category of disability. If you are dealing with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) and cannot work, you may be eligible for assistance.

What is social assistance?

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are the two largest government programs that provide financial assistance to people with disabilities.

If you have insurance, SSDI will pay you and certain family members. (In other words, you have worked long enough to have earned income and paid social security taxes for that income.) SSI pays adults and children whose income is restricted due to disability.

When you apply for any plan, you provide the Social Security Administration (SSA) with information about your disability. According to SSA, disability is characterized by the following criteria:

  • Due to your physical condition, you cannot do the work you have done before.
  • Due to your physical condition, you cannot adapt to other jobs.
  • Your disability has persisted or is expected to last for at least one year or cause death.
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For those with social anxiety who are unable to work due to illness, SSA may provide you with financial support.

Social assistance standards

The SSA Disability Program specifies the criteria that must be met in Section 12.06 of the “Social Security Disability Assessment” document to be eligible for anxiety assistance.

The following is a list adapted from the SSA government website, which shows the criteria that a person with social anxiety disorder may have to meet to receive assistance.

Social anxiety disorder needs to meet the severity of the condition and usually includes:

  1. Medical documentation of persistent and irrational fears of social and performance situations has led to a strong desire to avoid these situations.
  2. The activities of daily living are obviously restricted, it is difficult to maintain social functions or can not operate independently outside the family at all.

For people with SAD, examples of activities of daily living that may be affected include using public transportation, paying bills, making phone calls, and attending appointments.

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People with SAD may fear people, avoid relationships, and experience social isolation.

In addition to the above requirements, people who have the ability to work with SAD will also be considered, and whether the problems related to the disease have persisted for at least two years.

What if you do not meet the standards?

If your functionality is severely impaired and you do not meet the above criteria, you are still eligible for funding.

SSA recognizes something called residual functional capacity (RFC)-even though you have social anxiety disorder, you have work-related abilities.

The assessment of your RFC shows how your ability to work has been impaired by your anxiety, even if the level of impairment is not sufficient to meet the above criteria.

For example, if you have severe performance anxiety, you may not be able to fulfill your job duties as a teacher, even if your daily social activities and daily functions are controllable.

Information Sources

Multiple sources of information will be checked to evaluate your case, including:

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  • Medical history
  • Mental status check
  • Psychological test
  • Hospitalization/treatment history
  • Nurse/Social Worker Statement
  • Personal statement
  • Statement from family
  • Job evaluation
  • Previous work attempts

You need to describe your anxiety, including the nature, frequency and duration of any anxiety attacks, the triggers of these attacks, and how they affect your ability to function.

how to apply

The claims process is usually done through the local Social Security office or state agency (known as the Disability Determination Service or DDS).

You can apply in person, by phone, by mail, or online. You need to provide a description of your injury, contact information for the treatment provider, and other information.

Working while receiving benefits

If you feel that your situation has changed and you want to try to work again, you will not lose your right to benefits. In fact, you may get additional support.

You can even get help paying for work expenses and vocational training. Given the highly treatable nature of SAD, if you are ready, this proposal may be a great motivation for you to return to work.