February 1, 2011

Anxiety Disorder and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Benefits

Are you an Indiana resident unable to work because you are suffering from anxiety disorder?  Anxiety disorders are the most common of emotional disorders.  Anxiety disorder affects more than 20 million Americans each year.  This is approximately one out of nine people suffering from anxiety disorder.   Indianapolis Social Security disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis has numerous disability clients suffering from mental health disorders such as anxiety disorder.  Disability claimants may experience one or several symptoms associated with anxiety such as:

  • uncontrollable obsessive thoughts,
  • overwhelming feelings of panic & fear,
  • recurring nightmares, and
  • painful, intrusive memories.

Physical symptoms of this emotional disorder include, but are not limited to:

  • sweating,
  • increased heart rate,
  • nausea,
  • shaking,
  • muscle tension, and
  • other uncomfortable physical reactions.

Anxiety disorder differs from normal feelings of nervousness, as the symptoms often occur for no apparent reason and do not go away. These alarming reactions can make everyday experiences sources of potential terror. Anxiety disorder can be characterized as one of the following five types:  Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Social Phobia, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is defined by at least six months of a constant state of worry or tension and is not related to a specific event.  A person with Panic Disorder experiences repeated, unprovoked attacks of anxiety or terror lasting up to 10 minutes. Disability claimants with Social Phobias are irrational, involuntary, and overwhelming fears that lead a person to avoid common objects, social events, or situations. Obsessive- Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, persistent, and intrusive impulses or thoughts that the person feels can be controlled by performing repetitive behaviors. Indiana disability claimants with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) typically experience PTSD because they were a part of or witnessed a traumatic event or a series of events which resulted in severe stress symptoms lasting more than one month.

How does a Social Security disability claimant with an anxiety disorder win their Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits claim?  Basically, there are three ways a disability claimant with anxiety disorders can win their claim.

  1. The disability claimant meets the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) “Listing of Impairments,” Section 12.00 Mental Disorders.  This medical listing includes several categories of mental health conditions, ranging from depression and anxiety to mental retardation and autism. The most common mental health condition seen by the SSA is depression and anxiety.  Refer to Section 12.06 for specific information about anxiety disorder.
  2. Another way a disability claimant may win their disability claim is to prove that their “functual capacity” has been diminished by their mental health condition and the claimant would not be able to perfom any kind of skilled or unskilled job.
  3. Lastly, the disability claimant’s mental health condition in combination with other medical impairments causes the claimant to not be able to work.

In Indianapolis disability attorney Scott Lewis’ experience, cases involving anxiety can be more easily won with complete medical records from a psychologist, psychiatrist, or other mental health professionals.  Because there are no tests like a MRI for a spinal condition, well documented progress notes from a mental health professional may be the key to a favorable outcome.  Indiana disability lawyer Scott D. Lewis also finds it helpful if a claimant is complying with their medications.  Also, an ongoing course of treatment can make it easier for an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) to find in the disability claimant’s favor.

If you are an Indiana disability claimant suffering with anxiety disorder, and you refuse  to leave your house due to this disorder because you want to avoid situations that may trigger or worsen your anxiety, and if you are unable to work because of this disorder, contact disability attorney Scott D. Lewis for a free consultation.  Indianapolis Attorney Scott Lewis represents disability claimants with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, autism, schizophrenia and mental retardation.

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