Many people suffer from anxiety, and some have anxiety levels that are disabling. The Social Security Administration evaluates mental disorders under a specific type of regulation called “12.06.” To qualify as an anxiety disorder under 12.06, anxiety must be either the predominant disturbance or experienced as a result of an individual’s attempts to master symptoms. In order for an anxiety disorder to be sufficiently severe for the SSA to render a finding of disabled, the requirements in section A and B or in A and C of 12.06 must be satisfied.
There are 5 ways in which an individual can satisfy section A through production of medically documented findings. The first is generalized persistent anxiety accompanied by at least 3 of these 4 symptoms: motor tension, autotomic hyperactivity, apprehensive expectation, or vigilance and scanning. The second is a persistent irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation which results in a compelling need to avoid that object, activity, or situation. The third is recurrent severe panic attacks occurring at least once a week. The fourth is recurring obsessions or compulsions which are a source of marked distress. The fifth is recurrent and intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience, which are a source of marked distress. At least 1 of the foregoing must be shown through medically documented evidence in order to satisfy section A.
In addition to satisfying the section A requirements, an individual must satisfy the requirements in either section B or section C in order for SSA to determine that a condition is sufficiently severe to meet Listing 12.06. Section B requires that an individual show that his or her condition results in at least 2 of the following: a marked restriction of activities of daily living, marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning, marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence or pace, or repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration. “Marked” in this context means more than moderate and less than extreme. If an individual does not meet the requirements of section B, SSA will look to section C. This section requires that an individual show that a disorder results in the complete inability to function independently outside of one’s home.
If your anxiety disorder does not meet or equal the listing of 12.06, it does not necessarily mean you will be found not disabled. You may have a combination of impairments for example. All disabilities often get evaluated in something called a Residual Functional Capacity. For more on this, please see other blog entries or call our office. https://www.ssa.gov/Regardless, getting treatment for any disability, is not only good for you, but is good evidence for us. If possible, see someone about your anxiety or other disabilities.