This article discusses how the Social Security Administration will evaluate your claim for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) if you have been assessed with agoraphobia. For information on applying for SSDI or SSI look here.

In the Social Security Disability world, the name of your illness is not as important as the severity of your illness. While physical disabilities are more readily observable to the eye, mental health issues can affect one’s health in frightening ways.

Agoraphobia is a type of anxiety disorder in which you avoid situations that you’re afraid might cause you to panic. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder and Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are all anxiety disorders and they can co-occur (Via HHS).

Agoraphobia is usually associated with panic disorder. You may avoid being in public situations due to the overwhelming anxiety that you experience. Clients report difficulty leaving home, being around strangers and sometimes even being around their own family. These situations can cause panic attacks.

Panic attacks have been described to me as uncontrollable fear, vigilance and scanning, rapid heartbeat, chest pain, sweating and paranoia. Clients often think that they are having a heart attack. Other symptoms include dizziness, numbness and fear of “going crazy.” Found here .

Treatment for agoraphobia usually involves psychiatric therapy and medications. People with agoraphobia have to overcome their fear just to be able to receive treatment for it. This can be very difficult. Luckily today, a mental health professional can offer therapy by video which allows the patient to avoid commuting or having to use public transportation. If you are seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist, are in therapy and taking your medications you may still unable to work due to your social phobia, poor impulse control, difficulty concentrating or severe anxiety.

The Social Security Administration evaluates agoraphobia under 12.06 Anxiety Related Disorders :

Panic disorder or agoraphobia, characterized by one or both:

  1. Panic attacks followed by a persistent concern or worry about additional panic attacks or their consequences; or
  2. Disproportionate fear or anxiety about at least two different situations (for example, using public transportation, being in a crowd, being in a line, being outside of your home, being in open spaces

AND

  1. Extreme limitation of one, or marked limitation of two, of the following areas of mental functioning (see 12.00F):
    1. Understand, remember, or apply information (see 12.00E1).
    2. Interact with others (see 12.00E2).
    3. Concentrate, persist, or maintain pace (see 12.00E3).
    4. Adapt or manage oneself (see 12.00E4).

This listing discusses persistent irrational fears, recurrent severe panic attacks and marked restrictions in your activities of daily living or social skills, etc. If you are afraid to leave home or be around people, it is quite difficult to maintain full time employment and you may meet this listing.

Even if you do not meet the above listing, you still may be found disabled based on your inability to function independently outside of your home. If you are unable to work (engage in substantial gainful activity) due to your agoraphobia, file a claim for Social Security Disability benefits as soon as possible and call the Bishop Law Firm. We want to help!