Is Anxiety or Depression a Disability?

Mental illnesses can be extremely hard to live with, even debilitating at their worst. These conditions can affect suffering individuals in the same way physical impairments can, causing limitations to the capacity at which the individual can regularly work or function. If you’re struggling with questions such as: “Can I qualify for Social Security assistance if I have depression?” or “Is anxiety a disability?” then you’ve come to the right place. Here, Woodruff & Mathis team delves into SSDI qualifications for severe mental health conditions.

Functional Ability

Measuring one’s capacity to function and care for themselves in everyday life plays a large role when evaluating mental impairments. Some considerations that are taken are the individual’s ability to can include:

  • Pay bills
  • Keep up with personal hygiene
  • Household chores
  • Cook
  • Shop
  • Appropriate interaction with public, friends and family

While these all may seem unrelated to duties someone may need to perform at work, they are indicators of the level of independence and sociability of the individual.

Mental Health Impairments

The Social Security Administration uses a disability handbook known as the Blue Book, which helps establish guidelines for conditions that would qualify an individual for disability benefits. There is a section in the Blue Book that covers which mental health disorders may qualify you for benefits. These listings all require that the applicant’s symptoms have historically been proven to limit successful completion of daily activities and/or the ability to function anxiety a disability

There are nine categories that cover both conditions that are related to mental impairments as well as mental illnesses. The list of mental illness conditions includes but is not limited to:

  • Affective Disorders
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Psychotic Disorders

Affective Disorders

Affective disorders are a set of psychiatric or mood disorders, with the main types being depression and bipolar. These conditions require medical documentation that the disorder has an impact on your ability to function, even with treatment.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder may all fall under this category. Anxiety disorders require medical documentation that you have severe characteristics of the disorder and that they impact your ability to function in normal conditions. For example, recurring panic attacks (at least weekly), recurring compulsions and obsessions that cause significant distress, or constant irrational fears are all taken into consideration. Is anxiety a disability? Simply put, in some cases, yes.

Personality Disorders

These can include disorders such as antisocial, narcissistic, and borderline personality disorder, and require medical evidence proving that your condition has caused long-term problems and/or makes you unable to adapt to social situations. Symptoms such as inappropriate hostility or suspiciousness, aggressiveness, consistent mood disturbances, or impulsive damaging behavior are all taken into consideration.

Psychotic Disorders (including Paranoia and Schizophrenia)

Psychotic disorders can include mental illnesses such as paranoia and schizophrenia. Conditions that are taken into consideration are effects such as hallucinations or delusions, catatonia, incoherence, or illogical thinking. To qualify for benefits, you must have medical documentation proving that the disorder severely limits your ability to function in social or work environments.

Starting a Disability Claim

Mental health conditions can be subject to diagnosis, so the more medical documentation you are able to provide alongside your claim, the more likely your benefits claim will be approved. You may be required to complete an interview or even attend a consultative medical examination to verify your illness. Working with an experienced disability lawyer can help you obtain any evidence necessary for the process.

Again, if you’re struggling with questions about mental health such as “Is anxiety a disability?” or have questions about Maine disability requirements, contact the experts at Woodruff & Mathis to get started on your free consultation today!