The Social Security Administration (SSA) awards Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits for those who cannot work due to severe anxiety. If your condition is severe and prevents you from working for a year or more, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
If you have questions about whether you can get disability benefits from the SSA, the lawyers at Berger and Green are here to help. We can review your claim before you apply or fight for the benefits you deserve through the appeals process. Call our office today at 412-661-1400 for a complimentary consultation. We can help you understand if you qualify for disability for anxiety in Pittsburgh.
How can anxiety prevent someone from working?
Anxiety and other related mental health disorders can cause significant impairments in your ability to work and maintain normal relationships with supervisors, co-workers, customers, and even friends and family.
People who suffer from anxiety disorders can have a wide variety of symptoms, including debilitating anxiety, worry, and fear. They may avoid certain activities, places, or people in an attempt to avoid these thoughts and feelings. Many people with severe anxiety have difficulty with concentration and focus. They may also suffer from restlessness, paranoia, troubled sleeping, panic attacks, and obsessive behavior. They may worry constantly about safety and well-being, both for themselves and others.
Some of the diagnoses that fit into this category of disorders include:
- Anxiety disorder;
- Panic disorder;
- Social anxiety disorder;
- Agoraphobia; and
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder.
It is not enough to show that you are having trouble working, however. We need to prove to the SSA that your difficulty is the direct result of a medical condition that qualifies as a disability.
How does the SSA define a disability caused by an anxiety disorder?
In Section 12.06 of the SSA’s impairment listings document, sometimes called “The Blue Book,” they lay out the criteria for qualifying for SSD benefits based on your medical condition and symptoms. If your diagnosis includes an anxiety disorder, you may qualify for benefits if you consistently have three or more of these symptoms:
- Extreme fatigue;
- Recurring muscle tension;
- Problems with focus and concentration;
- Sleep disturbances;
- Panic disorder or agoraphobia with panic attacks;
- Extreme fear or anxiety about at least two common situations; or
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder with intrusive thoughts or repetitive behaviors.
The SSA will also look at the impact these symptoms have on your daily life. They may approve you for benefits if you experience extreme or marked issues with your ability to:
- Take instruction, understand, or use information;
- Interact normally with others;
- Focus and concentrate; and
- Manage yourself to complete tasks.
If you suffer from a well-documented, serious, and persistent mental disorder that lasts for one year or longer, you may also qualify for benefits. In a case like this, the SSA will want to see proof that you have sought treatment and that you have demonstrable problems adapting to changes.
Are there other ways to qualify for SSD benefits if I do not meet these criteria?
In some cases, your condition may be severe enough to keep you from holding a steady job but still does not meet the criteria outlined in the impairment listings. This does not mean you cannot file a successful claim for benefits. Instead of relying on the impairment listing qualifications, the SSA will determine your mental residual functional capacity. This measures what type of work you are capable of and is a key component in your claim.
To get the SSD benefits you need, your mental residual functional capacity must show that you cannot work your previous job, any job you qualify for, or complete basic unskilled labor tasks.
We can help you understand your mental residual functional capacity and explain how it will impact your claim.
What role does my doctor play in this proces
To receive—and keep—disability benefits, you will have to seek mental health care and follow your doctor’s advice regarding your anxiety. You need to continue to see your doctor, attend all scheduled appointments, and continue to take your medications as prescribed, even if you believe you are getting better.
Your medical records and other documentation from your doctor are the primary proof we need to back your claim for SSD benefits. We can ensure the SSA has the proper information to contact your mental health care professionals, but unless you have a well-documented diagnosis and have followed all treatment recommendations, you may not be eligible for disability benefits.
How can a lawyer help me get the disability benefits I deserve?
You need a disability lawyer on your side with the experience and understanding necessary to help people with mental illness claims get the benefits they deserve. Our attorneys have worked for clients just like you for decades. We are sympathetic to your needs and concerns and are ready to go to work on your behalf.
If your anxiety or other mental health disorder prevents you from working, you may be eligible to file for government benefits. We can help you get the help you need to pay your bills. We can help you prepare a claim for SSDI or SSI benefits or appeal a denial you received.
How can I talk to an attorney about getting SSD for anxiety in Pittsburgh?
At Berger and Green, we provide the type of personalized, experienced representation you need if you are seeking disability benefits from the SSA. We can answer your questions and address your concerns. We will help you file an application reporting all of your doctors and ensure the SSA has all the information they need to process and approve your claim. We can also handle SSD appeals, if they deny your initial application.
Call our Pittsburgh office today at 412-661-1400 to talk with a skilled lawyer about your eligibility or your SSD claim.