Childhood SSI Benefits for Anxiety Disorders

Many parents often wonder if their child qualifies for Childhood SSI disability benefits due to an anxiety disorder. Childhood claims are evaluated differently than adult claims for Social Security Disability. The requirements are actually more stringent. The Social Security Administration determines whether the child has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the criteria of a listing, or that functionally equals the listings.

The Childhood Listing for anxiety disorders requires:

In these disorders, anxiety is either the predominant disturbance or is experienced if the individual attempts to master symptoms; e.g., confronting the dreaded object or situation in a phobic disorder, attempting to go to school in a separation anxiety disorder, resisting the obsessions or compulsions in an obsessive compulsive disorder, or confronting strangers or peers in avoidant disorders.

The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied.

A. Medically documented findings of at least one of the following:

1. Excessive anxiety manifested when the child is separated, or separation is threatened, from a parent or parent surrogate; or

2. Excessive and persistent avoidance of strangers; or

3. Persistent unrealistic or excessive anxiety and worry (apprehensive expectation), accompanied by motor tension, autonomic hyperactivity, or vigilance and scanning; or

4. A persistent irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation which results in a compelling desire to avoid the dreaded object, activity, or situation; or

5. Recurrent severe panic attacks, manifested by a sudden unpredictable onset of intense apprehension, fear, or terror, often with a sense of impending doom, occurring on the average of at least once a week; or

6. Recurrent obsessions or compulsions which are a source of marked distress; or

7. Recurrent and intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience, including dreams, which are a source of marked distress;


B. For older infants and toddlers (age 1 to attainment of age 3), resulting in at least one of the appropriate age-group criteria in paragraph B1 of 112.02; or, for children (age 3 to attainment of age 18), resulting in at least two of the appropriate age-group criteria in paragraph B2 of 112.02.

If the Listing cannot be proven, the claim may still be won if the impairment(s) functionally equals the listings.

If you need more information about a Social Security Disability, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability, VA disability, Railroad Retirement Board disability, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee.




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