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Can an anxiety disorder qualify for SSDI benefits?

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2023 | Social Security Disability

Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits are designed to provide financial benefits to people who have a disabling condition that keeps them from performing substantial gainful work activity – but there’s nothing in the rules that says the disability has to be physical.

Mental health conditions, including anxiety, have long been recognized as legitimately disabling by the Social Security Administration (SSA). In fact, as of 2019, one out of every five SSDI beneficiaries was receiving benefits due to some kind of mental health condition.

What kind of anxiety disorders might qualify for benefits?

It’s important to remember that any anxiety disorder, not just those listed in SSA’s “Blue Book,” can potentially qualify for SSDI benefits. This includes:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): This is a condition that causes people to experience persistent anxiety on a day-to-day basis that’s not in proportion to their actual circumstances.
  • Panic attacks: Panic attacks can be triggered by all kinds of things, and are often a feature of post-traumatic stress disorder. Victims may feel like they’re in real medical distress when a panic attack hits, and recurrent or frequent attacks can be deeply limiting.
  • Agoraphobia: This condition sometimes arises along with panic attacks, and it can prevent people who have it from leaving their homes or any “safe” spaces that they know very well.
  • Social anxiety disorder: This disorder can make victims feel as if they are perpetually out of step with everybody around them in social situations, and can trigger panic attacks. Victims may find themselves unable to interact with most other people on a regular basis.
  • Selective mutism: This is an anxiety disorder that can manifest in childhood and carry over to adulthood. Victims can find themselves literally unable to speak when they feel overwhelmed or anxious in any situation.

If you have an anxiety disorder of any kind, whether it’s mentioned here or not, you may be entitled to receive SSDI benefits. Seeking legal guidance can help you pursue your claim.