It may surprise you to learn just how expansive Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI can be. There are many conditions that are covered. Does anxiety or depression qualify you for SSDI? The short answer is that it can, but there are several criteria that you must meet for those conditions to be approved for SSDI by the Social Security Administration or SSA.

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Qualification Criteria for Anxiety and Depression for SSDI

panic attack disability

Anxiety and depression are two very different things, even in the eyes of the Social Security Administration. There are criteria that are specific to each that you have to meet to qualify, but there are also overlapping criteria as well. Before we get into the specifics of each, let’s take a look at the overlapping criteria.

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One way to qualify is if your medical condition is serious and persistent which means you have a medically documented history with the disorder over a period of at least two years, ongoing treatment has diminished symptoms of the disorder, and you have shown a minimal ability to adapt to changes in your environment.

If you do not meet those criteria, then you may still qualify if you have an extreme limitation in one of the following or a marked limitation in two of the following:

  • Interact with others.
  • Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace.
  • Understand, remember, or apply information.
  • Adapt or manage oneself.

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Anxiety Qualifications for SSDI

In addition to the general qualifications listed above, for both anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, you need to meet several additional qualifications. We’ll try to keep it as simple as possible. You qualify if you have any three of the following: restlessness, difficulty concentration, irritability, muscle tension, easily fatigued, or sleep disturbance.

Additionally, you can also qualify if you have a panic disorder coupled with panic attacks and ongoing anxiety about future panic attacks or a disproportionate fear or anxiety about at least two different situations. If you have obsessive-compulsive disorder, you can also qualify with either involuntary and time-consuming preoccupation with unwanted intrusive thoughts or anxiety-reducing repetitive behaviors. 

Depression Qualifications for SSDI

Same as before, you must also meet that first set of qualifications that applies to both anxiety and depression. Additionally, the SSA lumps bipolar and other related disorders into the same category.

For depression specifically, you must exhibit five or more of the following: diminished interest in almost all activities, sleep disturbance, appetite disturbance with weight change, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, thoughts of death or suicide, depressed mood, or observable psychomotor agitation.

For bipolar disorder, you must exhibit at least three or more of the following: Pressured speech, inflated self-esteem, lessened need for sleep, flight of ideas, distractibility, an increase in goal-directed activity, or involvement in activities that have a high chance of resulting in unrecognized painful consequences.

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