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Can you qualify for disability benefits for anxiety?

Ask anyone in Scranton, and they are likely to tell you that everyone experiences anxiety to a certain degree. This may be why your claim of anxiety interfering with your inability to work may be met with some skepticism. Yet simply saying that you have anxiety is not sufficient to qualify for disability benefit through the Social Security Administration; as is the case with any medical condition, your claim must be supported by clinical evidence. 

According to Section 12.06 of the SSA’s Listing of Impairments, your claim of anxiety keeping you from working must be supported by one of the following three conditions: 

  • Anxiety disorder evidenced by a three-symptom combination of restlessness, sleep disturbances, fatigue, irritability, muscle tension or difficulty concentrating
  • Panic disorder accompanied by panic attacks, or agoraphobia characterized by an unreasonable fear of public scenarios
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder accompanied by either an involuntary preoccupation with intrusive thoughts or repetitive motions aimed at reducing stress

In addition to one of these three issues, you must also show a marked limitation in standard mental functions such as concentrating, understanding and applying new information, interacting with others and adapting to new circumstances and situations. 

As you can see, these requirements are quite strict. If you do not meet them, your only other hope of qualifying to SSD benefits due to anxiety is to have a documented history of struggling with a “serious and persistent” mental disorder for which you have been receiving medical treatment (that is still ongoing) and have displayed marginal adjustment skills when presented with changes to your environment that have persisted for a period of at least two consecutive years.