It is not uncommon for those suffering from mental or emotional disabilities to avoid seeking assistance through government programs. Whether they do not understand their own eligibility, or they are worried about facing a social stigma, many individuals simply choose to suffer in silence. Fortunately, the Social Security Administration (SSA) encourages those with physical or mental disabilities to seek financial assistance.

What is social anxiety disorder?

Individuals struggling to cope with social anxiety disorder (SAD) experience fear and anxiety when faced with normal, everyday interactions. Often called social phobia, this disorder can lead to feelings of self-consciousness and embarrassment due to worries of being identified and judged by others. In most cases, individuals simply seek to avoid social interactions and construct a life of solitude so they can circumvent the issue altogether. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for work experiences to require a significant social component – whether with co-workers, clients or customers – that prevents someone suffering from SAD to maintain gainful employment.

What criteria need to be met?

The SSA lists the various requirements that an individual needs to meet to qualify for assistance. Typically, the disorder will need to meet a specified level of severity, including two factors:

  • Medical documentation: The individual struggling with SAD must provide medical documentation of a persistent and irrational fear of social interactions. These fears must result in a strong desire to avoid social interactions and performance situations.
  • Impacted daily living: Numerous factors can go into the determination of this diagnostic element. Whether the individual is experiencing a marked restriction in daily activities, difficulties maintaining social relationships or the complete inability to function independently outside the home, they could qualify for the assistance program.

It is important to immediately take steps to understand your eligibility and the government assistance programs open to you. Suffering from a mental or physical disability can make it difficult or even impossible to earn a living wage. Do not hesitate to discuss your situation with an experienced SSDI attorney.