Panic Attacks & Disability – New Hurdles

As recently as mid-2015, there have been attempts in Congress to block routine fund reallocations to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) Trust Fund. Some members of Congress were reluctant to allow the funds to be reallocated for the program without substantial reforms for how disability benefits would be awarded in the future. Much of this reluctance stemmed from the view that many beneficiaries with anxiety disorders were actually “gaming the system.” There was some sentiment expressed that sufferers of these disabilities were able to earn a living, but were instead electing to turn to social security disability benefits. The outcome of the most recent effort to change how social security disability works is that revenue will be shifted to help fund the program, with minor changes to how benefits may be awarded.

Functional Impacts of Panic Attacks

Panic attacks are among a long list of anxiety disorders that can greatly impact a sufferer’s ability to function in day-to-day living. This type of anxiety disorder is often coupled with others, leaving the sufferer with a series of debilitating attacks and irrational fears that can effectively make getting and keeping a job an impossible task. Social security disability benefits are meant to protect those who are unable to work due to physical or mental disabilities. Unfortunately, some of the more “subjective” disabilities, i.e. non-physical or non-visible disabilities, come under fire as being less real and less debilitating than “objective” disabilities. Sufferers may be denied benefits at first; that’s when it’s best to seek the help of a social security disability attorney.

In 2016, it may be more difficult to prove the functional impact of panic attacks. The effects must be severe enough to impair living in ways that are both substantial and serious. While disability benefits are available for a range of anxiety disorders, they may be impossible to get without the help of a social security disability attorney.

Getting Help

Sufferers of panic attacks are not necessarily more able to earn. They shouldn’t be treated any differently than other recipients of social security disability benefits. The number of those receiving disability benefits for anxiety disorders is increasing, even as the benefits are being steadily eroded. A social security disability attorney may be a necessity in getting benefits, especially for those who have previously been denied.