You have been doing everything your doctors told you to do. You attend your regular psychiatric outpatient appointments at Midlands Hospital, take your medication, and do your cognitive behavioral therapy homework. You’re learning how to cope with social anxiety, but it’s still a struggle to speak to people or even leave the house sometimes. You can’t find a job—you would never make it through an interview.

Qualifying for Social Security Disability Due to Social Anxiety

Life with an anxiety disorder is a daily struggle, and stress can make the condition even worse. Out-of-work patients are placed in an impossible position: They are under extreme pressure to pay their bills, but are paralyzed with fear when it comes to interacting with others. That is why the Social Security Administration (SSA) provides disability payments for those who cannot work due to social anxiety.

In order to qualify for these benefits, the SSA will examine how functionally limited you are by your anxiety. Specifically, they will determine whether the following activities have been affected:

  • Daily living. You should write a detailed description of how your daily life activities have been interrupted, including your ability to shop, cook, clean, drive a car, pay your bills, maintain your residence, take care of your personal hygiene, talk on the telephone, or interact with customer service providers.
  • Social functioning. Your application should state specifically how you are limited in interacting with others. You may be able to speak only to family members, only with others present, or have a maximum time limit in which you can speak to others before you begin to panic. Make sure to note any complications this has caused in the past, such as misunderstandings, altercations, evictions,  written warnings at work, avoidance of interpersonal relationships, or other ways in which your inability to interact or respond appropriately to others has affected your social and working life.
  • Concentration and pace. Most jobs require some level of concentration in order to carry out daily work tasks. You should provide SSA with a comprehensive overview of how your working abilities are affected. For example, if you are unable to speak with people on the phone and can communicate only by email, you may need longer than others do to complete a task.

In some cases, the SSA may recommend that you are able to work away from the public or co workesr when they deny your claim. Jobs exist such as those but often not many or only exist when an accomodation is made. That is why it is helpful to have a skilled advocate cross exam the vocational expert. To find out how you can get your application approved, read through our free guide, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case, or click the contact link on this page to send us an email about your condition.

Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska