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Can I qualify for disability benefits for anxiety and depression

Minneapolis, MN |

Can I qualify for benefits if my medical condition is extreme anxiety/panic disorder and depression? How hard is it to win a case involving these conditions? Is there anything I can do to increase the odds of a favorable decision ? Thanks

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Attorney answers 4


Are you asking about making a claim under a long term disability policy, or applying for Social Security disability? Most disability policies cover psychological disorders, as does SSDI. However, you will need strong medical evidence to support your claim. You should obtain documentation from more than one health care professional demonstrating that your condition is so extreme that you are unable to function in your (or any other) job. You can attempt to file the claim yourself, or you can hire an experience employee benefits attorney to assist you with preparing the claim (and handling the appeal, if the claim is denied).

Good luck.

Your question has been answered as a courtesy. This is not paid legal advice. Nothing in this communication is intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Unless expressly stated otherwise, nothing contained in this message should be construed as a digital or electronic signature, nor is it intended to reflect an intention to make an agreement by electronic means.


If you are asking about Social Security Disability, your mental disability must be so disabling that it will keep you from gainful employment for more than one year. This type of claim has to be supported by expert opinion by a psychologist or psychiatrist. If you are able to function with proper medication, then you are not disabled.

This response is meant to be information only and should not be considered to be legal advice. This information is not meant and should not be construed to be the formation of an attorney client relationship. I practice Virginia Workers compensation law and Social Security Disability law.


The only thing you can "do" to make a claim for Social Security stronger is get regular treatment and be honest with your medical providers. Doctors can tell when some one is exaggerating, and Judges acan tell too. Be honest and when you can no longer work file for SS benefits.

As for the odds of winning: there are too many important facts missing here, like age, education, work history to name a few. So, call a local attorney to discuss your claim specifically. You may ontact your local city, county or state bar association to see if they have a lawyer referral program, or you may contact your local legal aid office if you cannot afford an attorney.

You may also contact the National Organization of Social Security Claimants' Representatives (NOSSCR) for the name and email address or telephone number of attorneys in your area. The telephone number for the lawyer referral service of NOSSCR is 1-800-431-2804. NOSSCR's website is

In addition, you can find a Board certified specialist in Social Security by contacting the National Board of Trial Advocacy. They evaluate lawyers (independently) in many types of claims and require extensive experience and testing before a lawyer is certified. They have a section specifically for Social Security: The National Board of Social Security Disability Advocacy, Divisions of the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification.

Their link is:

You may also contact NADR (National Association of Disability Representatives) – automated Telephone Referral System at 1-800-747-6131.

Most attorneys who do any amount of Social Security work are members of NOSSCR and provide a free initial consultation. In any event, no attorney may charge a fee for work on a social security claim until it has been approved by Social Security. The fee limit is a maximum of 25% of past due or back due benefits you are owed, and many lawyers charge less than the full 25%, and the money is not paid until your claim has been approved.

I hope this information helps. Good luck to you!
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The exact answers to questions like this require more information than presented. The answer(s) provided should be considered general information. The information provided by this is general advice, and is not legal advice. Viewing this information is not intended to create, and does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. It is intended to educate the reader and a more definite answer should be based on a consultation with a lawyer. You should not take any action that might affect your claim without first seeking the professional opinion of an attorney. You should consult an attorney who can can ask all the appropriate questions and give legal advice based on the exact facts of your situation. The general information provided here does not create an attorney-client relationship.


To qualify for disability benefits under social security, someone with anxiety/depression either meet the disability criteria in social security's impairment listing manual, or be granted a medical-vocational allowance based on the severity of their depression and a combination of other factors, such as other impairments, work history, age, and level of education.
The Social Security Administration has a list of illnesses that qualify for disability if they meet the specified criteria. Depression, for example, appears in the list under “Affective Disorders.” To qualify for social security disability or SSI disability benefits, the employee must show that they have severe depression by having at least 4 of the following symptoms: (i) lack of interest or pleasure in most activities, (ii) decreased energy, (iii) poor appetite or overeating, (iv) insomnia or oversleeping, (v) difficulty concentrating or thinking, (vi) lack of physical movement, (vii) feelings of worthlessness or guilt (viii) paranoia, delusions, or hallucinations, or (ix) suicidal thoughts.
The depression must also cause you serious difficulty in (i) activities of daily living, social functioning, (iii) focusing, or (iv) repeated, extended periods of worsening symptoms.

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