People applying for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits based on anxiety usually get denied. The Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) explanation of determination typically says that while the medical evidence shows the claimant has anxiety, they determined that the condition is not severe enough to prevent the claimant from working. The best way to address the severity of a claimant’s anxiety is through the applicable “listing.”
The SSA has listings for many impairments, including anxiety. If a claimant provides evidence that he or she meets the criteria in the listing, then the SSA must presume that the claimant is unable to work. Therefore, by proving you meet the listing, you establish that your anxiety is severe enough to keep you from working.
A 39 year old woman who taught health and fitness retained me after her SSD claim was denied based on cardiomyopathy. While interviewing the claimant, it seemed that her anxiety over her cardiomyopathy was actually worse than her cardiomyopathy. After reviewing a report from the claimant’s psychologist that indicated the claimant’s anxiety was severe, I obtained another report explaining why the claimant met the listing, which I used as the basis for requesting a decision without having to hold a hearing.
Although the claimant had not even alleged the anxiety was a contributing factor to her inability to work, her SSD application was approved without a hearing. The waiting time for hearings is up to two years. The SSA website provides the average wait time for each hearing office. Perhaps just as importantly, the claimant had been very anxious about having to testify at a hearing, and immediately felt better knowing that she did not have to appear.