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 you find that you are unable to work due to panic attacks, you can contact the Social Security Administration to begin an initial application.

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