The Social Security Administration (SSA) considers a number of conditions to be severe enough to prevent you from working. Regardless of the condition, all are subject to evaluation and must meet certain criteria to qualify for SSD benefits.

Though most of the conditions listed by the SSA as disabling are permanent or expected to result in death, those that are not require evidence showing that the condition has lasted or is expected to last for at least one year.

Anxiety Disability Criteria

Anxiety disorders are characterized by patterns of frequent or continuous worry and feelings of anxiousness related to many different events or activities. Symptoms can include difficulty concentrating or controlling worry, fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath, irritability, sleep disturbances, and more.

Anxiety disorders are considered a disabling condition by the SSA and may qualify you for either SSD or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits dependent on the condition and your age. Anxiety disorders are considered mental disorders.

According to the SSA, in anxiety-related disorders, anxiety is either the primary disturbance or it is experienced if one attempts to gain control of symptoms, such as confronting dreaded situations, phobias, or obsessions. The required level of severity is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied, or when the requirements in both A and C are satisfied:

A. Medically documented findings of at least one of the following:

  • Generalized persistent anxiety accompanied by three out of four of the following signs or symptoms:
    • Motor tension
    • Autonomic hyperactivity
    • Apprehensive expectation
    • Vigilance and scanning
  • A persistent irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation, which results in a compelling desire to avoid the dreaded object, activity, or situation
  • Recurrent severe panic attacks manifested by a sudden unpredictable onset of intense apprehension, fear, terror, and sense of impending doom occurring on the average of at least once a week
  • Recurrent obsessions or compulsions which are a source of marked distress
  • Recurrent and intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience, which are a source of marked distress


B. Resulting in at least two of the following:

  • Marked restriction of activities of daily living
  • Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning
  • Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace
  • Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration


C. Resulting in complete inability to function independently outside the area of one’s home

Get the Benefits You Need

Suffering from anxiety can severely disrupt your ability to work and hold down a steady job. In turn, that makes it difficult to provide for your family and pay for the medication and therapy necessary to manage your condition. The SSA sometimes offers benefits to people who have anxiety, but the organization is also known to deny valid claims.

The Social Security Disability lawyers at Fleschner, Stark, Tanoos & Newlin want to make sure your claim isn’t denied. Our experience means we know how to build claims that are designed to get results fast. Call us at (800) 477-7315 or fill  out a free consultation form today.

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