What Is A Severe Impairment
Social security defines a severe impairment as one that significantly limits your ability to do any of the following: walk, sit, stand, push, pull, lift, and carry hear, speak, and see understand and follow simple directions, and interact with co-workers and supervisors, and adjust to changes in the workplace.
In contrast, a non-severe impairment impacts your ability to work only minimally.
Medical Evidence Required For Disability Based On Depression
Your treating doctor should be able to submit a comprehensive psychiatric report and a well-documented psychiatric medical record showing the history of your depression to the SSA. Your psychiatric record should include all treatments attempted, including the types of medication and therapy, and the efficacy and side effects of each treatment. Your doctor should also include detailed examples of how your depression affects your daily activities and your ability to hold a job.
What Is An Anxiety Disorder
While a bit of nervousness and worry is normal in ordinary life, excessive terror and panic is prevalent in people with anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders differ from the normal stresses of everyday life.
Normally, people with anxiety disorders experience continuous terror, panic, or otherwise alertness with no clear indicator for such responses. Anxiety disorders can cause considerable disruption in peoples lives. Agoraphobia, for example, prevents an individual from leaving their home for fear of their safety.
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How Hard Is It To Get Ssdi For Depression
Like other conditions with symptoms that are based on emotional distress, a disability based on depression can be difficult to prove to the Social Security Administration because the symptoms are often difficult to measure. Additionally, just being diagnosed with depression is not enough to qualify for benefits.
Applying For Disability Benefits With A Mental Illness
Mental and psychological disabilities are among the conditions that can qualify for benefits from the Social Security Administration . You may qualify with severe depression, bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, or another mental illness that prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.
Social Security disability benefits can cover everyday living expenses, medical bills, and other financial obligations. Benefits are paid monthly and can alleviate many of your financial worries, making it possible for you to get by without income from employment.
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What Other Criteria Is Necessary To Obtain Disability Benefits
In addition to proving that you have a condition that is disabling, there are certain other criteria you will need to win your benefits:
- A doctor must expect your condition to last a year or longer or result in death.
- Despite treatment, your panic disorder is so severe that you cannot engage in SGA.
- Given your condition, age, education, and skill sets, you are unable to adjust to different work.
You must also meet either work credit requirements or income/asset limits . The SSDI benefit program requires that you have a certain number of work credits on your record. These are credits that you earn by working at a job and paying Social Security taxes. The number of credits you need depends on your age.
The SSI program is for children, visually impaired persons, and other disabled people that have limited assets and who have never worked or have not worked long or recently enough to qualify for SSDI. To qualify for SSI, your income and assets must fall below a certain threshold.
To learn more about the differences between SSDI and SSI, read our blog post on the subject.
Is Generalized Anxiety Disorder Or Severe Anxiety A Disability
Legally speaking, yes some forms of generalized anxiety disorder can be considered a disability. The law that governs Social Security benefits defines a disability as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” In other words, a disability includes mental impairments that make you unable to do your job or find enough employment to support yourself. The impairment must be long-term or potentially fatal.
Generalized anxiety disorder and other forms of severe anxiety are often long-term, can be diagnosed by a doctor, and can limit someone from engaging in substantial gainful activity. As long as your condition meets those requirements, it will considered a disability according to Social Security law.
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Am I Eligible For Social Security Disability Benefits
Social security defines a disability as any medically determinable mental or medical impairment that has prevented an individual from performing substantial work for twelve months, is expected to prevent an individual from working for twelve continuous months, or is expected to end with death.
It can be difficult to bring a claim for disability benefits on the basis of anxiety or depression because the evidence used to support the diagnosis is based on subjective criteria. Objective measures, like an X-ray or a blood test, cannot tell your doctor what you are thinking or feeling in your day-to-day life.
To successfully claim social security disability for anxiety or depression, be prepared to show a history of medical treatment. If you havent treated with medical professionals for your mental health disorder, you can get a referral to a social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist from your primary doctor.
Special Problems In Depression And Anxiety Cases
Depression and anxiety present special problems in a Social Security case. As noted above, a significant percentage of Social Security claimants allege depression or anxiety and both adjudicators and judges are very hesitant to find that a claimant meets a listing unless there is a long and consistent treatment history along with a history of unsuccessful work attempts.
Depression and anxiety symptoms may change over time, especially as you try different medications. Therefore, it is extremely important that you provide your doctor with an accurate and complete list of symptoms and their side effects.
One of the biggest issues seen has to do with the onset of new symptoms. Remember, the first two levels of appeal may take a year to work through the system. By the time you get to Court, you may have been waiting 18 months. As you know, depression and anxiety can produce different activity limitations at different times. If you wait until the hearing request to allege symptoms that were not identified in your initial application, the Judge may delay your case further by sending you to one or more consultative examinations with Social Security approved specialists. This is especially true if you developed significant depression after you filed your application.
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Getting Your Doctor’s Support
Make sure that you have your treating physician prepare a mental residual functional capacity form on your behalf. A mental RFC is a detailed report that discusses how your anxiety and depression affect your pain thresholds and your ability to do certain job functions. Your attorney will use the mental RFC to create hypothetical questions designed to counter the VE’s testimony.
Although any doctor can prepare a mental RFC for you, the SSA will give more weight to a doctor who specializes in treating mental illness. Therefore, you should make sure to seek the help of a psychiatrist or psychologist in the treatment of your anxiety or depression.
Social Security’s Standard Listing For Depression
Social Security publishes a list of common, serious illnesses that qualify for disability if they meet the specified criteria. The purpose of the list is to be able to grant disability quickly for severe impairments. Clinical depression is covered in Social Security’s impairment listing 12.04, Depressive, bipolar and related disorders. The listing includes a set of symptoms and a list of functional problems you must have to qualify for either Social Security disability or SSI disability benefits on the basis of depression.
First, you must show you have severe depression by having at least five of the following symptoms:
- depressed mood
- feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- thoughts of death or suicide, and/or
- a slowing of physical movement and reactions, including speech, or increased physical agitation, such as hand wringing or pacing.
In addition to having at least five of the above symptoms, you must also meet “functional” criteria to show that you have a loss of abilities due to the mental disorder. Generally, you must have an extreme limitation in at least one of the following areas, or a “marked” limitation in at least two of the following areas:
- understanding, remembering, or applying information
- interacting with others
- concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace in performing tasks, and/or
- adapting or managing oneself.
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Get Help With Your Claim
Working with an experienced attorney can be a helpful step a person with depression or anxiety can take to improve the likelihood of receiving disability benefits. If you are suffering from anxiety or depression that is severe enough to affect your daily life and job responsibilities, reach out to the LaPorte Law Firm for a free consultation. We have over 40 years of experience helping those with mental health impairments win their Social Security benefits.
What If My Anxiety Or Depression Does Not Meet A Listing
Cant Work Due to Anxiety and Depression. Your depression or anxiety symptoms may not meet a listing. Fortunately, you can still qualify for Social Security disability benefits. In this case, Social Security will consider your residual functional capacity . Your RFC is what you can do even with your medical impairments. Particularly, Social Security looks at how your depression or anxiety symptoms impact your ability work. Specifically, they consider your ability to:
- Carry out simple instructions
- Respond appropriately to supervision and co-workers and
- Handle changes in a routine
- Show up to work consistently, arrive on time or leave early
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Telling Social Security About Your Anxiety And Depression
First, you need to tell the Social Security Administration if you are receiving treatment for any mental illness, including anxiety and depression, even if your symptoms are moderate. This is because the SSA has to consider how your psychological symptoms affect your ability to work when combined with your physical impairment. If you are not receiving treatment but feel as though you may be anxious or depressed, seek help from a mental health professional as soon as you can.
It is also important that you provide the SSA with a complete list of the medications you take for your depression or anxiety. You must also tell the SSA who prescribed the medication, the dosages, and whether or not you experience any side effects. Keep in mind that it is more helpful to your claim if you are treated for your anxiety or depression by a mental health professional than by your family doctor. If you see a therapist, social worker, psychiatrist or psychologist, their names and contact information to the SSA as well.
If you didn’t include any of this information regarding your depression or anxiety in your original application and questionnaire — and you were denied benefits — be sure to submit new reports and medical records documenting your symptoms to the hearing office before your hearing.
Depression Anxiety And Physical Impairments
Social Security follows specific rules when making a decision. They look at your age, education and work background. These medical-vocational guidelines are even more favorable when you have a physical condition in addition to depression or anxiety. These are also known as the Grid Rules. The rules make it easier to get your disability benefits the older you are.
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Preparing Your Case File For A Hearing
Would you be surprised to know that most doctors notes are handwritten and difficult to read? In several instances, your representative will have to work with a doctors office to translate notes so that they could be understood.
None of this is to suggest that a doctor with sloppy handwriting or sketchy office notes is not a good, caring physician. To the contrary, your doctors main focus is his treatment of you. His notes are simply reminders for him to review prior to your visits. For Social Security purposes, however, your doctors office notes can make or break your case thus your lawyer or claims representatives role as one whereby he translates medical findings into work limitations.
What If My Application Is Denied
If your application for disability is denied, you have several different options. When you receive a notice that your application has been denied, you have 60 days to formally appeal the decision. There are four steps to an appeal:
You can request a reconsideration if your application was denied based on medical reasons, income, living arrangements, or other reasons that you disagree with. When you file a reconsideration, someone from the SSA who was not involved in your original determination will review your application and any new evidence.
If you disagree with the SSAs decision after a reconsideration, you may request a hearing by an administrative law judge who was not involved in your first determination. The hearing may take place in-person or through video.
If you are denied benefits after a hearing with an administrative law judge, you may request a review by the Appeals Council. The council will consider all requests, but may deny your request if they determine that the decision made by the administrative law judge was accurate. If the council reviews your case, they will either make a decision on their own or send your appeal to another administrative law judge.
The last level of the appeals process is filing a civil suit in federal court. You may do so if the Appeals Council refuses your case or you disagree with their decision. You have 60 days after receiving the Appeals Councils decision to file a civil suit.
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Can I Get Disability Benefits For My Anxiety Or Depression
You can be entitled to SSDI benefits or SSI benefits if you suffer from anxiety or depression. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health impairments can have a significant impact on a persons life and career. These mental health impairments can make it impossible for an individual to work and earn a living. People with these severe mental health impairments are entitled to collect Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income .
Can You Get Disability For Anxiety
Anxiety can considered a disability if you have well-documented evidence that it impacts your ability to work. If you meet the medical requirements outlined by the SSAs Blue Book and have earned enough work credits, you will be deemed disabled by the SSA and you will be able to get disability for anxiety.
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Attain Benefits For Severe Depression And Anxiety
Cutter Hall Karlock, LLCOct. 7, 2021
As with physical conditions, to obtain Social Security Disability Insurance/Supplemental Security Income benefits for a mental disorder, you must provide appropriate medical evidence of its effect on your ability to work.
It takes an experienced lawyer to successfully obtain SSDI benefits for a mental disorder. At Cutter Hall Karlock, LLC, we know what the Social Security Administration wants to see on the relevant applications. Drawing on more than 60 years of combined experience, we can help ensure your claim is as strong as possible.
Benefits For Disabled Adults
SSDI is available to disabled adult workers who have paid Social Security taxes, while SSI is a need-based program only available to applicants that meet strict limitations on income and asset holdings. If you have never worked due to your mental illness, you will not qualify for SSDI. If you have financial support from friends or family, you will not qualify for SSI.
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Answering Your Questions About Anxiety & Ssdi In Pennsylvania
Can you get disability for anxiety and panic attacks? Does social anxiety or depression count as a disability? Can you get Pennsylvania SSDI benefits for an anxiety disorder? These are good questions our lawyers answer below.
The first question to answer is this: do you have an anxiety disorder?
- Do you tend to worry about events in your life even if others believe that there is no reason for you to worry?
- Do daily activities make you anxious?
- Are you stuck with the feeling that things will always go bad and will never improve for you?
These may be signs of a generalized anxiety disorder, and you may qualify for SSDI benefits as a result.
Medical Qualifying With A Mental Illness
The SSA conducts a detailed review of your medical records to determine your eligibility for benefits. During this review, they try to match your records to a disability listing in the Blue Book. The Blue Book is the SSAs medical guide that is used to evaluate every disability application.
Disability listings outline the severity level requirements and the specific medical evidence needed to support a claim for benefits. Mental illnesses appear in Section 12.00 and include:
- 12.06, Anxiety-related Disorders you may qualify under this listing if you have a severe phobia, post-traumatic stress, a panic disorder, or another anxiety-related condition.
- 12.08, Personality Disorders this is the listing under which you may qualify if you have severe, clinical depression.
- 12.04, Affective Disorders if you have bipolar disorder, your application will be reviewed under this listing.
Extensive medical records are necessary to qualify, including:
- Information on your diagnosis, ideally from a psychiatrist or psychologist
- Brain scans or other evidence of physical abnormalities that document an organic cause for symptoms, if applicable
- Treatment records, documenting medications, therapy, and other management methods used and their effects
- Thoroughly documented episodes of increased symptoms or periods of decompensation
- Well documented affects of your symptoms on your everyday abilities or activities of daily living
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