A Partner On The Path To Work
What if I need help? What if I have a question about the work I was hired for? What if I cant keep a job? What if I have to go back on benefits? What if I cant do this?
Lori had a long list of questions and worries. But with the Ticket program, Lori had a partner to help her through the entire process.
After talking to Paula and learning more about the Ticket to Work program, it was comforting to know that I could have someone on speed dial when my brain started to make me worry more.
Lori had her first interview with Paula Vieillet, the founder and CEO of Employment Options.
Because each individuals circumstances are different, the program encourages people to begin their journey with a trained benefits counselor who can help them understand how employment will affect their disability benefits. Benefits counselors can be found at community-based organizations called Work Incentives Planning and Assistance projects, and at some ENs and State VR agencies.
Lori was grateful she didnt have to do this all on her own. Im not going to sugarcoat it: when you have anxiety, youre afraid of everything going wrong, Lori says. Having a benefits counselor by her side to help negotiate the ins and outs of managing her disability benefits while finding a job made Lori feel safe. It made her feel like she could go back to work.
For over 20 years, Employment Options has helped thousands of people with:
- Assessing skills and abilities
How Panic Disorder Can Affect Your Ability To Work
If panic attacks or panic disorders go untreated, they can lead to severe complications including:
- the development of phobias, including fear of leaving your home or performing certain tasks
- avoidance of social situations
- increased risk of suicide, and
- substance abuse, including alcohol.
When individuals are having panic attacks, they have limited functional abilities in all areas. The ability to function at work during a panic attack is minimal, if at all. And even when a panic attack is not happening, the challenge with panic attacks is that they leave individuals in constant fear of the occurrence of another attack. This constant fear can affect an individual’s ability to concentrate and complete tasks or to get along with others in the work place. These mental impairments could affect an individual’s ability to work at virtually any job.
After You Apply For Benefits
Your claim will be assigned to a specialist for review, and you may be required to attend an interview or even undergo a consultative mental exam with an SSA-approved psychiatrist or psychologist to verify your condition. The process can take several months, but the more evidence and medical documentation you are able to provide, the better your chances of being able to get your claim approved. Qualifying for benefits on the basis of anxiety can be a challenge because this condition can be subjective to diagnose. You might find it helpful to consult with a qualified and experienced disability lawyer who can help you to get the evidence you need to convince the SSA that you are disabled enough to be entitled to benefits.
Note that the rules regarding disability for children are different for more information, see our article on disability benefits for anxiety in children.
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Do You Meet The Criteria For Social Security Benefits
A sleep disorder can be characterized by periods of wakefulness or oversleeping. A depressed person may have serious issues sleeping or over-sleeping, which in turn can lead to a general functional limitation and other health issues. Suicidal thoughts can plague a person suffering from the mental illness of depression. These can range from vague ideations to actual plans that present a sizable risk factor to those suffering from severe depression.
Depressed mood is a term signifying the overall emotional state of a depressed person. This ongoing and disabling depression may present itself as a negative outlook or feelings of sadness. It is normal for life changes to bring on a depressive episode, but depressive symptoms going on longer than 14 days may indicate clinical depression that needs treatment.
Diminished interest in personal activities is another sign of a depressive disorder. A loss of investment in your work or business, a lack of interest connecting to family members or friends, or failure to find engagement in once meaningful hobbies can all be signs of depression. Functional limitations due to your depression might include the psychomotor agitation of nervous motions like pacing or wringing hands. Depression can indeed manifest as a physical disability such as slowed reaction time or inability reminiscent of a learning disability, such as the inability to follow directions or retain information.
Basic Requirements For Disability
Everyone who applies for Social Security disability insurance or Supplemental Security Income must also meet the following requirements.
- You must not be doing a substantial amount of work at the time you apply.
- Because of your medical condition, you aren’t able to do a substantial work for at least 12 consecutive months.
Whether you are financially eligible for SSDI or SSI depends on your work history and your household income levels. For more information, read our sections on SSI and SSDI.
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Warning: Ltd Policies And Mental Illness Limitations
When filing for long term disability, an important consideration is whether your long term disability insurance policy includes a Mental Illness Limitation.
Policies that contain a Mental Illness Limitation typically limit your benefits to two years if you are disabled due to a psychiatric condition such as depression or anxiety. Of course, each policy is different, so the prescribed maximum period may be shorter or longer depending on the terms of your particular policy.
Some policies with Mental Illness Limitations contain exemptions for certain mental conditions. It is important to review your policy closely.
However, if you are solely disabled due to an anxiety disorder and your policy contains a Mental Illness Limitation that does not exempt it, your benefits will most likely stop when the maximum allowable period expires. Unfortunately, the severity of your mental illness will become irrelevant after the maximum allowable period expires.
However, if you can demonstrate that you are disabled due to objective cognitive problems, your benefits may extend beyond limitation period. A neuropsychological evaluation, as discussed earlier, can provide this evidence.
How To Apply For Disability Benefits For Depression
Applying for benefits begins with filling out the Social Security Disability Application. You can do this over the phone, online, or by walking into your nearest Social Security Office. You will need your Social Security number and proof of your age , along with the names and contact information for any medical professionals that were involved in your treatment or diagnosis. You will also need names and dosages of your medications, medical records, lab results , a summary of where you worked and what was involved in your job, and the most recent W-2 or Federal Tax Return .
The review process can take a while. In many cases, it will take anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Thankfully there is Social Security Disability Back Pay that will be dated to the time of your application. Even so, you will most likely want to line up other resources while you wait for your SSDI Award Letter to arrive.
One of the first things the SSA will do is determine whether or not you are working at a substantial gainful activity level. The SGA level is a threshold to determine if you need financial assistance in the form of SSDI. As of 2020, substantial gainful activity is deemed to be earnings over $1,260, either as wages or as net profit if you are self-employed. If you are legally blind, that threshold is raised to $2,110. You are allowed to deduct Impairment-Related Work Expenses such as medical treatment from your wages or net profit.
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Panic Disorder And Disability
When talking about Disability Benefits due to Panic Disorders or Panic Attacks, across the United States there are many petitions filed seeking disability for Panic Attacks. It is estimated that about 10% of applications received every year seeking disability are those for Panic Attacks.
Panic Disorders or Panic Attacks is not a single entity but a combination of other psychiatric conditions like Depression and fear or phobias like Agarophobia or a fear of crowd or people. It is also estimated that Panic Attacks occurs quite frequently among the general population in the United States.
To define Panic Disorders or Panic Attacks, it can be stated as a combination of episodes of extreme fear as if something terrible is going to happen to you or someone accompanied with other symptoms like feeling of a racing heart or what is medically called as palpitations, dizziness, sense of being off balance, in some cases shortness of breath, chest pain which may make the person think that he or she is about to die.
Some may suggest that the affected individual may be just a bit too much stressed but Panic Disorders are completely different from fatigue caused due to stress in that Panic Attacks come on out of the blue and the individual may have an attack even at times where he or she is completely stress free at rest.
Ticket To Work Service Providers
Several different types of Ticket to Work program service providers can help you transition to the workforce or progress in the job you have:
600+ Employment Networks across the U.S. offer a range of free support services through the Ticket to Work program. Some ENs serve specific populations, while others may provide specialized support services. ENs can help you:
- Prepare for the workforce
- Find a job and stay employed
- Advance in your current job
- Get job accommodations
- Stay in touch with Social Security
- Stay organized
Workforce ENs are providers that are also part of a states public workforce system. Like other ENs, Workforce ENs can give you access to a wide array of employment support services, including training programs and special programs for youth in transition and veterans. A Ticket program participant who assigns their ticket to a Workforce EN will work with providers in the workforce system .
People who need more significant support services may find help at a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency. State VR agencies deliver a wide variety of services to help people with disabilities go to work. These services are designed to provide the client with the training and other services that are needed to return to work, to enter a new line of work, or to enter the workforce for the first time. State VR agencies can help you get ready to work. If necessary, you can then find an EN to help you keep your job and make more money.
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Filing For Social Security Disability With A Panic Attack Diagnosis
Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration does not have an independent listing for Panic Attacks in the Impairment Listing Manual, or Blue Book, used by state-run Disability Determination Services to determine if a claimant is totally disabled. Instead, Panic Attacks are described as a symptom of anxiety disorder in general, and of a Chronic Panic Disorder in particular. Therefore, a claimant suffering from isolated Panic Attack symptoms is unlikely to meet the SSAs requirements for Social Security Disability benefits.
As the SSA requires that a claimants condition be severe enough to keep them from achieving or maintaining any type of gainful employment in order to meet the eligibility requirements for disability benefits, applying on the basis of Chronic Panic Disorder will provide a much stronger foundation for a disability claim than applying based on symptoms of Panic Attacks alone.
The SSA discusses anxiety-related disorders under Section 12.00 of the Blue Book. The medical documentation required to file for disability due to a Chronic Panic Disorder is detailed under Section 12.00: Mental Disorders, Paragraph D: Documentation, Subparagraph 11: Anxiety disorders.
Section 12.06 of the Blue Book specifically lists the requirements for filing for disability benefits with an anxiety disorder diagnosis.
How To Get A Disability Check For Anxiety
Whether or not you qualify for disability benefits for your anxiety will depend on which country you live in. If youre wondering how to get a disability check for anxiety in the United States, there are a few factors to consider.
First off, which anxiety disorders qualify for disability?
In the US, many different anxiety disorders can qualify you for disability. PTSD, panic disorder, OCD, phobias, and even generalized anxiety disorder can all qualify.
The thing is, its not so much about which anxiety disorder you have, but rather the severity of it.
Mild to moderate anxiety does not seem to be sufficient to receive disability in most cases.
In order to be considered for disability, you will need to be suffering from severe anxiety.
Furthermore, self-diagnosis of your anxiety is not adequate here.
Your anxiety will need to be diagnosed by a licensed professional, who will likely expect you to describe your symptoms in detail.
According to the SSA website, in order to be considered for disability due to anxiety you must meet a few conditions. At the time of my posting this article these conditions are as follows:
This wall of text can definitely be overwhelming, but Ill try to break down the gist of it for you.
Basically, in order to qualify for disability benefits with anxiety, you will need to fulfill requirements A and B, or A and C. Those requirements being:
B. Extreme limitation of one, or significant limitation of two of the following:
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Anxiety Disorder And The Family And Medical Leave Act
Steven Gans, MD is board-certified in psychiatry and is an active supervisor, teacher, and mentor at Massachusetts General Hospital.
If you have an anxiety disorder, there is a good chance that your condition qualifies you for the Family and Medical Leave Act . You may find that your symptoms worsen while under stress or become more difficult to control during certain times of the year. You may even find that your symptoms wax and wane with no apparent rhyme or reason.
Whether or not your symptoms are predictable, their intensity may affect your ability to carry out your usual employment duties. This may mean taking a temporary medical leave of absence from work.
The FMLA provides certain benefits for employees who need to be absent from work due to their own illness or that of an immediate family member.