Slepian Smith, PLLC

Can I receive disability benefits for stress?

Millions of Americans struggle with stress to some degree. For some, it is a passing, if frustrating, condition that is well managed. For others, stress is a pervasive and debilitating condition. Many people fall somewhere in the middle.

This means there is no easy answer to the question posed above. However, if you suffer from stress, then there are a few things you can ask yourself to better understand your options with regard to disability benefits.

Is it the only condition?

Stress often accompanies other conditions that cause or are caused by the stress. You might also have chronic pain, an anxiety disorder or other health problems for which you are receiving medical treatment and care.

If you are applying for disability benefits, be sure that you include all the medical conditions from which you suffer, even if they are not the primary condition. This can give the Social Security Administration a full picture of how stress affects your overall health and your ability to work.

Is it disabling?

The Social Security Administration evaluates all conditions using the same criteria for disability. In order to be disabling – and therefore eligible for financial benefits – stress must prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity for at least a year. You will also want to provide evidence of all medical care you have received and currently receive to treat the condition.

What about post-traumatic stress disorder?

The SSA identifies certain types of stressor- and trauma-related disorders, including PTSD, as disabling conditions eligible for benefits. In other words, they are different from stress. If you suffer from these disorders, then you may be more likely to receive benefits than someone with more generalized stress symptoms.

Applying for benefits should not exacerbate your condition

Completing and submitting an application for benefits can be a stressful process, unfortunately. To minimize the impact that the added stress might have on you and your health, it can be prudent to consult an attorney who can help you navigate the system and strengthen your application so that you can be in a better position to receive benefits.

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