Applying for Social Security Disability for a Panic Disorder or Panic Attack

July 13, 2020
Dayes Law Firm

Having a panic disorder or panic attack can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. If left untreated, it could lead to significant physical and mental complications. If you suffer from panic attacks that severely affects or limits your ability to function normally, you may be eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits.

Dayes Law Firm further discusses panic attacks, its impact in work and home life, and the relevance of medical evidence to potentially qualify for disability. You have nothing to lose by contacting our firm for a free consultation to learn if you meet the requirements.

Understanding Panic Attacks

A panic attack is a sudden, intense fear that triggers several physical reactions. An individual can feel like he or she has no control over his or her body, which can be frightening and distressing. Panic attacks can even mimic a heart attack. These intense episodes can happen without warning and be isolated events for some people. Common panic attack symptoms include:

  • Pounding heart or heart palpitations
  • Apprehension or terror with a sense of doom
  • Hyperventilating or shortness of breath
  • Sweating and trembling
  • Dizziness or flushed feeling
  • A choking sensation
  • Headaches and nausea
  • Chest pain

For people who frequently have panic attacks, they may have what is known as a panic disorder. A panic disorder could lead to other significant complications, including depression, substance abuse, or suicide.

Ways a Panic Disorder Could Impact Your Work

A panic attack or panic disorder can be treated with counseling and medication. However, if left untreated, Individuals often develop phobias from being fearful of experiencing the panic attack itself.

Phobias such as agoraphobia (fear of going outside, leaving the home or doing practical tasks) and social phobia (fear of being seen in public or avoiding social situations) can often have a damaging effect on a person’s daily life and overall mental health.

A severe panic disorder could also cause issues at work dealing with managers, co-workers and/or other people. A panic attack causes limited functional abilities. The chances of a person being able to function at work in the middle of a panic attack are slim to none. The fear of a panic attack could leave you in constant fear and unable to focus, perform tasks, or work well with others. It could be difficult to hold down a job.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability

Panic attacks are commonly cited on disability applications in addition to other psychiatric conditions. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does have a listing of impairments (12.06) that covers anxiety disorders, including panic disorder. A panic disorder or agoraphobia diagnosis may make you eligible for disability benefits if you meet one of these conditions:

  • Panic attacks cause persistent anxiety over having panic attacks in the future and/or
  • Increased fear or anxiety of being in at least two scenarios where escape may be difficult, like on a bus or train, being in a crowded or open area, being in line or going outside of your home.

You would also need to demonstrate that you have an extreme limitation in one of the areas below or a marked limitation in at least two of the areas below:

  • Interacting with other people and using socially appropriate behaviors
  • Understanding and remembering information, including instructions, tasks, and learning new things
  • Concentrating on and completing tasks and/or
  • Adapting or managing oneself and having practical personal skills

It is important to note that having a marked limitation is worse than having a moderate limitation. It seriously limits your ability to function. An extreme limitation is worse than a marked limitation, but not as severe as having complete loss of an ability. These limitations are used by a SSA medical professional when reviewing medical evidence.

A Phoenix Social Security Disability lawyer from our firm is ready to help you meet these qualifications.

Why Medical Evidence is So Important

To qualify for disability, it is important that you provide medical evidence that shows the full extent of your panic attacks or panic disorder. You would need to provide a detailed description of an intense episode you typically experience to the SSA.

This description must include the nature of your panic attacks, how long and how frequent they last, a possible reason for why they happen and how these panic attacks interfere with your ability to function.

Any medical professionals who have seen you suffer from a panic attack should include a record of how your description compares to what he or she saw and where he or she received the information about your panic attacks, whether it was self-reported or from a family member.

If your psychiatrist or psychologist has never witnessed you having a panic attack, you could have a loved one who has seen you experience one provide a description of what he or she saw.

Your medical records should also include the medical professional’s option on your ability to do your work without special supervision, complete straightforward work-related decisions, interact well with others in the workplace, be on time, avoid excessive absences and remain focused at work.

Let Us Help You Get Disability Benefits

Our disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm are prepared to provide the help you need obtaining disability benefits. An initial consultation with us is completely free without any obligation to retain our services.

If you have a valid claim and decide to move forward, we charge nothing up front unless we help you obtain a recovery. We are available anytime, day or night, to take your call or chat online.

Talk to a lawyer today. Ph: 1-800-503-2000.