Individuals who have an anxiety disorder may qualify for Social Security disability insurance. These monthly payments provide income for a person who cannot work because of his or her disabling condition.

Learn how the SSDI program evaluates anxiety disorder and the types of symptoms that qualify an individual for coverage.

Types of anxiety disorders

Generalized anxiety is a medical condition characterized by a feeling of constant vigilance, unfounded worry, and abnormal concerns and fears. These emotional symptoms often manifest with muscle tension, dry mouth, faintness and sweating.

Other psychological disorders may also cause debilitating anxiety. These include:

  • Agoraphobia, a fear that results in extreme avoidance of public spaces
  • Panic disorder, which causes a physical panic response without the presence of danger
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder, characterized by compulsive thoughts and obsessive actions
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, which causes anxiety and fear associated with past trauma

SSDI eligibility for anxiety

When applying for SSDI, the person must have a doctor’s diagnosis of any of the above anxiety disorders. He or she must also exhibit at least three of these symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Muscle tension
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating

The SSDI application must illustrate the person’s inability to function normally because of these symptoms. This should include a severe problem in one or more or a significant problem in two or more of these areas:

  • Caring for oneself and coping with change
  • Keeping up with tasks and concentrating while performing these tasks
  • Behaving in a socially appropriate way around other people
  • Communicating, using, remembering or understanding information

An individual who can no longer work because of an anxiety disorder should keep careful records of his or her symptoms. A diary of how the disorder affects a person’s life can provide important evidence for an SSDI application. The application should also include medical records from all doctors and specialists along with a detailed log of treatments attempted and the efficacy of each treatment.