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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Social Security Disability and SSI Denials

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Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

Winning your Disability Benefits

Social Security Disability Back Pay Benefits

Social Security Disability SSI Awards and Award Notices

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Filing for Disability

1) When someone worries incessantly over small things to the point of feeling sick and anxious, they can be said to have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Usually the worry is over family issues, work stresses, health, or money, and is so severe that it ends up disturbing their daily lives. GAD happens when someone ‘worries themselves sick’.

2) Symptoms of GAD can vary greatly, but usually include headaches, fatigue, irritability, difficulty breathing or swallowing, insomnia, rashes, nausea, and muscle tension or pain.

3) It is estimated that almost 9 million American adults (3.1 percent of the population) suffer from GAD yearly, while 3 percent of the population in Canada, Australia, and Italy also experience GAD yearly. Women are two or three times more likely to develop GAD and the median age of onset is usually around 31 years old.

4) There is a certain criteria that must be met to be diagnosed with GAD, including excessive worry over a few different events during a six-month period, with more days of the six months spent worrying than not. Also, the patient must have issues controlling their worry, and they must have suffered with three or more of six symptoms consistently over a six-month period, including: irritability, fatigue, muscle tension, insomnia or restless sleep, feeling ‘on edge’, and having trouble concentrating.

5) GAD is thought to be genetic, can be caused by an imbalance of dopamine and serotonin, and it is known to be caused by environmental stress, such as stress due to relationships or work. It can also be brought on by lack of sleep, or a traumatic experience, such as the death of loved one.

6) Those with GAD can take many steps toward reducing their stress. Simple things like exercising, eating well, and going to see a therapist or getting a financial counselor can help immensely.

7) Cognitive behavioral therapy is a very popular treatment for GAD and is estimated to help one-third of American patients; it can be used alone or in tandem with medications.

8) The most popular medications for anxiety disorder are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Zoloft and Prozac, or benzodiazepines, such as Xanan or Valium.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:

Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI

These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.

Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria