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The Social Security Administration recognizes general anxiety or stress as a basis for disability benefits

The Social Security Administration includes anxiety disorders in its listings of impairments that qualify for disability benefits. Anxiety is considered a mental disability, and the listing for anxiety disorders is subcategorized into several different types of anxiety disorders:

  • Generalized anxiety disorders.
  • Phobic disorders.
  • Panic disorder.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD).
  • Post-traumatic stress disorders (PTSD).

Meeting the Social Security disability listing for general anxiety or stress

The disability listing for generalized anxiety has three parts: Part A, Part B, and Part C.

To meet or equal the listing a claimant must satisfy Part A, and then either Part B or Part C.

The Part A requirements for the Social Security disability listing for general anxiety

Part A of the listing for generalized anxiety requires a medically documented finding of any one of five different conditions.

The first of those five conditions is generalized persistent anxiety, and the listing requires that this condition be accompanied by at least three of the following signs or symptoms:
a. Motor tension.
b. Autonomic hyperactivity.
c. Apprehensive expectation.
d. Vigilance and scanning.

Motor tension means observable physical expressions. These things are what are thought of as appearing “nervous,” and can be such things as restlessness, jumpiness, trembling, fidgeting, or a strained appearance to the face.

Autonomic hyperactivity refers to automatic things the body does that are not usually under conscious control. Inappropriate anxiety may result in increased rate and force of heartbeat, raised blood pressure, a dry mouth, or a queasy stomach.

Apprehensive expectation is a preoccupation with possible negative events. A person suffering from apprehensive expectation is in a continuous state of fear.

Vigilance and scanning are the result of apprehensive expectation. A person in a state of inappropriate vigilance and scanning constantly feels “on edge,” irritable, and distractible.

Get help from an experienced Colorado disability lawyer

Getting Social Security disability benefits based on anxiety or stress can be complicated and difficult. If you are not already represented by a Colorado Social Security disability lawyer, consider getting an evaluation from us about your claim. Give us a brief description of your claim using the form on this page, or e-mail or call our office.

Michael S. Krieger
Denver Social Security disability lawyer

165 S. Union Blvd. #555
Lakewood, CO 80228