Proving Disability Based On Residual Functional Capacity
Even if you do not meet a listing, you may be found disabled based on your residual functional capacity . While Social Security applies the grid rules when considering your physical RFC, there are no such grids for your mental RFC.
In determining your mental RFC, Social Security will examine your social and intellectual limitations, including limitations on understanding and memory, sustained concentration and persistence, social interaction and adaptation. If Social Security finds that you are markedly or extremely limited in one or more areas, you may be found disabled, whereas a finding of only mild or moderate limitations will usually not result in you being found disabled.
At a hearing, the administrative law judge will ask a vocational expert to testify. The judge will describe hypothetical individuals with certain limitations, and ask the vocational expert whether there are jobs that exist in the national economy that such a person could do. Two factors that often play a role are the number of days you would be expected to be absent from a job, and the amount of time in a typical workday that you would be expected to be off-task due to your mental impairments.
If there is no simple, unskilled job you can do, then you can be found disabled. If you have physical limitations or other mental impairments in addition to anxiety, then Social Security must consider the combination of your impairments and limitations.
What Do I Do If My Claim Is Denied
The majority of applications are denied, but dont let a claim denial deter you. If you feel you cannot work because of your medical conditions, appeal the denial within 60 days.
Appealing an initial denial moves your claim to the second stage, which is called Reconsideration. Social Security assigns your claim to another disability examiner to reconsider the evidence. Social security may send you reports to complete, or schedule an evaluation with a doctor. It is important to your case that you comply.
The bad news is that most claims that reach the Reconsideration level are denied.
The good news is that if you appeal within 60 days you move to the third level, the Hearing, which is when the majority of applications are approved.
What Symptoms Are Associated With A Generalized Anxiety Disorder
While a mental health diagnosis is specific to each individual, some of the common symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder include:
- Excessive worry about everyday situation, problems and responsibilities.
- Difficulty controlling their worry.
- Reporting physical symptoms like headaches, stomachaches or other physical pain.
- Experiencing changes in mood, including irritability.
If you believe that you suffer from some of or all the above symptoms, it is important to talk to your medical providers and seek help as soon as possible. Your medical provider may refer you to a mental health specialist to discuss your symptoms or she/her may want to make sure that there is no unrelated physical impairment causing your symptoms. In most cases, generalized anxiety disorder is treated by a mental health professional, including medication, therapy or both.
It will be important to work with your medical providers and with your mental health professionals to determine your best treatment options.
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Does An Anxiety Disorder Qualify Me For Social Security Benefits
While everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life, some people suffer from serious anxiety disorders that can hamper their quality of life. In some cases, these disorders can be severe enough to make working a full-time job impossible the Social Security Administration awards benefits to people that they find disabled due to severe anxiety disorders.
Generalized anxiety disorder is a common form of anxiety disorder that isnt based on fear of a single object or event. Symptoms can include:
- Excessive anxiety or worry, lasting at least 6 months and happening more days than not
- Difficulty controlling worry
- The sense of altered reality
- Thoughts of impending doom
People who suffer from panic disorder may experience symptoms of a panic attack even outside of these episodes.
Phobiaan intense, irrational fearcan affect people in several ways. Social phobia, or social anxiety disorder, results from a crippling fear of social situations and leads people to avoid these situations or have panic attacks while in such situations. Specific phobias result from a single panic trigger, such as spiders or elevators, and lead to the person avoiding these triggers or reacting to them with a panic attack.
Another common anxiety disorder which can vary widely in its severity is obsessive-compulsive disorder. Symptoms include:
Some people may suffer from obsessive thoughts without the linked compulsive behaviors.
Improving Your Chances For Obtaining Benefits
Its particularly important to see a psychologist or psychiatrist who can document the progression of your illness because this can sometimes be the only official record of your anxiety disorder. If you live with or frequently see family members or friends, ask them to document your behavior over time as well. Since severity is the key to determining whether or not your anxiety disorder qualifies you for benefits, tracking the frequency of panic attacks or other episodes can help your case.
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Determining Your Residual Functional Capacity
If the SSA finds that your anxiety disorder is not severe enough to meet listing 12.06, the agency will review the evidence in your file to analyze exactly what limitations you have on your ability to work. The SSA will then give you a “mental residual functional capacity” statement explaining what types of work tasks you can perform and how often. If you have been diagnosed with a panic disorder, for example, you will likely have some problems with concentration. You might have the following RFC: an inability to do complex tasks but you can perform short and simple tasks that can be learned in 30 days or less, no contact with the general public, and only superficial contact with coworkers and supervisors.
To be granted disability benefits, your mental RFC generally must limit you from working any of the jobs you’ve in the past fifteen years and from performing any simple unskilled job in the United States.
What If My Application Is Denied
If your application for disability is denied, you have several different options. When you receive a notice that your application has been denied, you have 60 days to formally appeal the decision. There are four steps to an appeal:
You can request a reconsideration if your application was denied based on medical reasons, income, living arrangements, or other reasons that you disagree with. When you file a reconsideration, someone from the SSA who was not involved in your original determination will review your application and any new evidence.
If you disagree with the SSAs decision after a reconsideration, you may request a hearing by an administrative law judge who was not involved in your first determination. The hearing may take place in-person or through video.
If you are denied benefits after a hearing with an administrative law judge, you may request a review by the Appeals Council. The council will consider all requests, but may deny your request if they determine that the decision made by the administrative law judge was accurate. If the council reviews your case, they will either make a decision on their own or send your appeal to another administrative law judge.
The last level of the appeals process is filing a civil suit in federal court. You may do so if the Appeals Council refuses your case or you disagree with their decision. You have 60 days after receiving the Appeals Councils decision to file a civil suit.
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What Do I Do If The Ssa Has Denied My Application For Disability Benefits
If you received a benefits denial from the SSA, call Lunn & Forro, PLLC to discuss making an appeal. We can help you with several levels of appeal, beginning with requesting a reconsideration with the SSA.
It is vital not to delay in taking action, though, because you have only 60 days from the date you received your denial letter to make an appeal. Contact our office today to discuss your disability case: .
Read Up On How Social Security Evaluates Disability Claims Based On Generalized Persistent Anxiety Phobias Panic Attacks Obsessive
Social anxiety and other anxiety disorders can be socially limiting at best but at worst can be so disruptive to a person’s life that it becomes impossible to work. Anxiety disorders involving phobias, panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder , obsessive-compulsive disorder , and generalized anxiety can qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they are well documented and severely debilitating. If you’ve been diagnosed with one of the above disorders and it affects your ability to leave the house, function socially, concentrate, or manage the tasks of daily living, you may be eligible for disability benefits.
Some people claim they have anxiety, nervousness , or phobias, but their symptoms are unfortunately a part of modern, stressful life. To qualify for Social Security disability benefits for an anxiety disorder, you have to be able to show that your symptoms are chronic and that they meet one of several specific medical diagnoses related to anxiety and that they severely and negatively impact your ability to function in life. In order to suss out cases of anxiety disorders that are truly preventing someone from doing any kind of work, the SSA has developed a list of requirements that your anxiety disorder must fit into.
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How Hard Is It To Get Disability For Anxiety
It can be difficult to claim Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits on the basis of an anxiety disorder diagnosis because the medical evidence supporting the diagnosis is highly subjective and is based on hard -to-document criteria, such as feelings and behavior that
Can I Still Get Disability If I Don’t Meet The Listing
If Social Security finds your social anxiety disorder doesn’t meet the above listing requirements, the agency will use your medical records to determine your mental residual functional capacity . The SSA will prepare a report that assesses how your symptoms affect your ability to do the mental and emotional requirements of a job. It may include limitations on your ability to interact with members of the public, get along with co-workers, talk with superiors, and adjust to changes in your environment. The SSA will then compare your MRFC to the requirements of your past jobs. If the SSA concludes that your social anxiety disorder stops you from doing your past work , the agency will look to see whether there are less mentally and socially demanding jobs that you could do.
You should ask your treating doctors to fill out an MRFC form for you, including descriptions of your symptoms and how they affect your ability to work. It is better to have a doctor that specializes in anxiety disorders prepare your MRFC .
What Is Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety is an extreme fear and discomfort over being judged by others or of being humiliated while in public. It can range from mild to severe, but those who have severe forms of social anxiety will often go out of their way to avoid attention. They will avoid people to the point where they cannot do basic tasks such as going to a public restroom or speaking in front of others.
Its worth noting that social anxiety isnt just a mental disorder. While it is a mental condition, there are often physical symptoms, as well. Some of the physical symptoms of social anxiety can include blushing, sweating, muscle tension, difficulty speaking, and an increased heart rate.
Many people with social anxiety often fear that people will notice their symptoms. Because of this, they may avoid interactions with other people altogether. Additionally, social anxiety could lead to even more serious mental conditions such as certain phobias as well as depression.
The causes of social anxiety are not entirely clear, although there are a lot of theories. Some experts believe that its the result of a combination of genetics and a low self-esteem.
Others point out that an imbalance of serotonin contributes to social anxiety this imbalance could impact your bodys functions, e.g. mood, memory, and sleep in peculiar ways. Some experts believe social anxiety is more of an environmental/learned behavior and can be deconditioned.
How Does Anxiety Qualify For Disability Benefits
You may start by wondering whether you can get disability benefits for a mental health problem like anxiety.
Many people think of disability as a purely physical impairment.
Its true that it can be complicated to prove your anxiety to other people, namely the people who will be reviewing your disability qualifications.
They cant see your anxiety disorder. They cant feel what you feel.
But you should know that mental health disorders absolutely can qualify for disability benefits. In fact, its a major impairment among the millions of people who receive Social Security Disability.
In recent years, the Social Security Administration has listed mental illness as the second-largest category of impairments among workers receiving disability checks they make up a full quarter of disability claims.
Social Security gives specific directions for how to get benefits with anxiety.
You must provide documentation of symptoms like these::
- Muscle tension
- Sleep problems
For a disability claim, you can also document panic attacks, debilitating fear of being in public places , and obsessive-compulsive disorder where you are plagued by unwanted thoughts and trying to soothe yourself with repetitive motions.
In addition, Social Security says you need to show problems in these areas:
- Processing information
- Keeping on tasks
- Regulating your emotions and behavior
Social Security may also want you to show a two-year history of your struggle with anxiety.
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Why Are There So Many Mental Health Disability
Meeting the requirements for meeting the Blue Book impairment listing is a way to prove your mental disability. A Social Security disability benefit can be paid according to the Blue Book. Social Security disability benefits are available to people who are suffering from certain mental disabilities.