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March 16, 2020

Can I Receive Social Security Disability If I Have Panic Attacks?

Can I receive Social Security Disability if I have panic attacks?  Many of my clients diagnosed with an Anxiety-Related Disorder have panic attacks.  Due to the severity, frequency, and unexpected onset of a panic attack, it may be difficult or even impossible to secure and maintain a full-time job.  If you find that you still endure disabling panic attacks even after therapy and medications, it may be in your best interest to file for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and/or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes panic attacks and similar disorders under Listing 12.06 Anxiety Disorders.  There is specific language and criteria that the SSA is looking for when granting disability for panic attacks.  I try to get my clients to take a medical source statement to their mental health provider to help substantiate the symptoms they experience to prove to the SSA their panic attacks fit these standards.  A continuing therapist-patient relationship with comprehensive progress notes can substantially enhance your chances of winning your claim.  Taking psychiatric medications prescribed by your psychiatrist and complying with their orders can show the SSA that you still have panic attacks despite adherence to prescribed treatment. Some of the symptoms of panic attacks can be, but are not limited to: Racing heartbeat Chest pain Shortness of breath Sweating Fear of impending doom Racing thoughts Inability to concentrate Some of my clients express a fear of leaving their home (Agoraphobia).  Many jobs require interactions with co-workers, supervisors, or the general public, so any limitations in the ability to get along with others can affect your ability to work.  Additionally, if your conditions and symptoms would cause you to miss days of work or be off task, the SSA may agree that you would be unable to keep employment.  If … Continued

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February 27, 2015

Obtaining Social Security Disability Benefits for PTSD

Many people with severe mental disorders are unable to work, and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is one of many mental disorders Social Security might consider disabling.  In my practice, I have represented numerous clients suffering such severe PTSD symptoms that they are unable to work, even though they might be physically healthy enough to meet the demands of various types of jobs.  PTSD symptoms typically arise after a patient has experienced or observed a terrifying event.  Many factors contribute to these symptoms, and all patients experience PTSD differently. While symptoms vary in type and intensity, many that I see in my Indiana Social Security Disability practice include: Recurrent memories of a traumatic event Mentally experiencing a traumatic event over and over (flashbacks) Nightmares about a traumatic event Avoiding situations that are reminders of a traumatic event Concentration difficulties Anger outbursts Hypervigilance Self-destructive behavior The Social Security Administration (SSA) addresses post-traumatic stress disorder in its Listing of Impairments.  PTSD is evaluated under Listing 12.06: Anxiety Related Disorders.  Social Security reviews your medical records for documentation of the types of symptoms you have, as well as the severity of your symptoms and their effect on your daily life.  In my experience it is important to have medical records, including progress notes from a qualified psychiatrist and therapist, showing you have been receiving regular treatment.  Unlike many physical conditions, where objective testing can be used to help prove the cause of your symptoms, mental health conditions must be proven using treatment records. Many of my clients with PTSD have told me that one of their major hurdles in finding and maintaining employment is their inability to interact appropriately with other people.  They explain that they have difficulty leaving their homes and interacting even with their families and friends; they would be unable … Continued

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