Is Anxiety Considered A Disability?

Is Anxiety Considered A Disability, And Can You Get Benefits For It?
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It can be hard for society–as a whole–to fully accept the invisible conditions preventing millions of people from earning an income. Yet, an unseeable condition such as an anxiety disorder can stifle one’s quality of life akin to a traumatic injury, chronic pain, or a long-term illness.

Too often, people blame themselves for their anxiety and feel it’s their lot in life to suffer. As a result, they don’t necessarily seek or receive the support and assistance–financial or otherwise–they have owed to them. Moreover, they’re regularly unsure how to receive compensation for their anxiety-related condition.

Unsurprisingly then, at, we are frequently asked, “is anxiety considered a disability?” and “can I get disability for anxiety?”

In this article, we’ll answer, “is anxiety a disability” and examine if and how you can collect Social Security-provided compensation for this wide-sweeping mental illness.

Can I Get Disability For Anxiety?

Can I Get Disability For Anxiety?

So, is anxiety a disability in the view of those responsible for doling out Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) checks?

Well, it’s more crucial to ask, have you been diagnosed with panic disorders, OCD, PTSD, or phobias? If so, the answer to “can I get disability for anxiety?” is yes…but conditionally so. 

You can potentially receive SSDI or SSI income, provided you’re stricken with one of the above conditions. However, you’re required to put forth evidence proving your anxiety-based condition adheres to the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Blue Book standards.

What Is Anxiety?

What Is Anxiety?

Now that we’ve answered yes to “is anxiety a disability?” it’s time to define it.

An anxiety disorder is any condition involving ongoing apprehensiveness, unease, or tension. Of course, some people have more minor versions of these various mental illnesses and can work through them. However, for others, it goes beyond nagging nervousness. It’s more of an all-encompassing alarmed or terrified feeling that those suffering plainly can’t escape. 

Furthermore, for anxiety disorders to qualify as compensation-worthy in the SSA’s eyes, the condition must get triggered by everyday scenarios and ordinary life. 

Below, we’ll delve into the types of anxiety the SSA will approve as disabilities.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorders involve constant anxiety or terror-related attacks without any identifiable cause. These episodes last up to ten minutes. 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

General anxiety disorders don’t relate to specific scenarios or events. Sufferers constantly face a state of tension that must last for a six-month minimum to receive an official diagnosis.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Those suffering from this ailment perform ritualistic, repetitive behavior to mitigate anxiety symptoms (e.g., recurrent impulses or thoughts).


People with phobias experience involuntary, overwhelming, and irrational fears of everyday places, things, events, or scenarios. 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

To be formally diagnosed with PTSD, symptoms caused by involvement in or witnessing a traumatic event must last more than a month. 

Exploring The Nuances Of Anxiety As A Disability

Many causes exist for normal anxiety, whether adverse responses to medicine, mental disorders (e.g., depression), or stressful but impermanent life circumstances (e.g., job loss, divorce). 

Doctors aim to eliminate the possibility of these causes when diagnosing disability-inducing anxiety disorders. The goal in this instance is to entirely rule out separate events or isolated issues as a root cause. 

The severity and duration of anxiety symptoms are other crucial factors for doctors. Physicians also try to determine the overall impact of those symptoms on a patient’s ability to perform at work, school, and other day-to-day activities. 

So, while the answer is yes to “is anxiety considered a disability,” such disorders must disrupt someone’s work, social life, relationships, and day-to-day life to be officially diagnosed. 

Symptoms Of Anxiety Disorders

Do you experience uncontrollable obsessive thoughts, agonizingly intrusive memories, or overwhelming panic? If so, note that these are all anxiety disorder symptoms, yet they only scratch the surface. 

Specifically, anxiety disorders involve physical symptoms such as:

  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea
  • Other instances of bodily discomfort

When left untreated, symptoms typically worsen, leading to basic aspects of life (e.g., jobs, education, relationships, leaving the house) being challenging or outright impossible to manage. 

How To Manage And Treat Anxiety Disorders

Frequently, doctors prescribe psychotherapy and medication to treat anxiety disorders. Healthcare professionals also promote stress-reduction techniques meant to manage and one day eliminate the harshest anxiety-related symptoms.

Of course, there’s no guarantee for success with these treatments; thus, the questions of “is anxiety considered a disability?” and “can I get disability for anxiety?” are pertinent.  

The severity of the anxiety disorder and a person’s ability–or lack thereof–to control anxiety-related causes can greatly hinder symptom management and present a need for compensation. 

How Can I Get Disability For Anxiety?

How Can I Get Disability For Anxiety?

Undoubtedly, anxiety is a disability in the eyes of the SSA and the healthcare space.

However, it’s more pressing to ask, when is anxiety considered a disability that qualifies for SSDI checks?

The SSA will only approve you for benefits when you’ve documented enough evidence to prove your anxiety disorder prevents you from working. Provided you meet the SSA Blue Book’s medical requirements, you also need the requisite number of work credits. Then–and only then–will the SSA deem you disabled and send you the much-needed compensation. 

Thus, correctly filing for social security disability benefits is of the utmost importance. Your due diligence must be rigorous to receive the money owed to you. Otherwise, even if your symptoms 100% meet the SSA Blue Book’s requirements for disabilities, your application will still get rejected. 

Getting your SSDI application correct can be daunting–but we have unparalleled expertise on the matter at So you’ve come to the right place to learn the nuances involved. 

 Completing Your SSDI Application When Diagnosed With An Anxiety Disorder

The SSA’s Blue Book considers anxiety disorders under Section 12.06, placed under the Mental Disorder umbrella.

Both SSDI and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) can be tough to claim based on your anxiety disorder due to the subjective nature of the medical evidence involved in a diagnosis. Documenting the criteria is tricky since it involves abstract components like inner feelings and deals with behaviors beyond the confines of the doctor’s office—the doctor diagnoses based on reports from the patient.

Successfully applying for anxiety-related disability benefits necessitates that you provide a treatment history by medical professionals (i.e., a qualified mental health professional and your doctor). Doing so conveys your anxiety disorder’s persistence and ongoing nature. 

Be mindful that the SSA’s definition of a disability meets the following criteria:

  • Must be a medically determinable mental or medical impairment
  • The disability must have stopped you from significant work for a year (or is expected to prevent you from working for a year)
  • Or your disability is expected to end your life.

It’s critical that your medical documentation comprehensively illustrates your disability’s interference with your daily life.

Below, we’ll highlight the conditions you must meet for approval on your disability application. You must satisfy the stipulations of requirements A and B seen below, or you can meet requirements A and C to qualify successfully.  

“A” Requirements

Be sure to possess medical documents proving that you meet one of the following four pieces of criteria:

  • You suffer from a combination of generalized anxiety and three out of these four symptoms:
    • Apprehensive expectation
    • Scanning and vigilance
    • Autonomic hyperactivity
    • Motor tension
  • You experience an irrational and ongoing fear of an activity, situation, or object that triggers the need to avoid the said activity, situation, or object. 
  • You deal with severe, recurrent panic attacks that involve unexpected episodes of overwhelming terror, apprehension, fear, and an unshakeable sense of impending doom. These episodes must occur once per week at a minimum. 
  • You face frequent obsessions or compulsions, resulting in severe distress.
  • You suffer from repetitive, intrusive memories of a traumatic event in your life, leading to severe distress.

“B” Requirements

Symptoms from paragraph A must cause two of the following results:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Severe problems with pace or persistence
  • Constant deterioration of mental health systems, increasing in duration after each episode
  • Significant challenges with social functioning
  • Restriction of daily routines and activities

“C” Requirements

You’ll satisfy the “C” requirements if your “A” conditions leave you unable to function outside of your home independently.  

(Disclaimer: Conditions that don’t qualify for benefits from the SSA can still result in receiving medical vocational allowances.)

Still Wondering, “Can I Get Disability For Anxiety?”

Still Wondering, “Can I Get Disability For Anxiety?”

Now you know the answer is yes to the question, “is anxiety a disability?” 

Perform your due diligence and determine if you’ll qualify for SSDI or SSI benefits by completing our form for a Free Benefits Evaluation. 

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