Anxiety Disorders and Childhood SSI

     Many parents often wonder if their child qualifies for Childhood SSI disability benefits due to an anxiety disorder.  Childhood SSI claims are evaluated differently than adult claims for Social Security Disability or SSI.  The requirements are actually more stringent.  If the child is not working and has “severe” impairments, the Social Security Administration determines whether the claimant has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the criteria of a listing, or that functionally equals the listings.  If the claimant has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets, medically equals or functionally equals the listings, and it has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months, he is presumed to be disabled. If not, the claimant is not disabled.  There is no further question of vocational steps as with an adult disability claim.

 The Childhood Listing for anxiety disorders reads as follows: 

112.06 Anxiety Disorders: 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;

and

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 can still be won if an impairment or combination of impairments functionally equals the listings and one must assess the claimant’s functioning in terms of six domains: (1) acquiring and using information; (2) attending and completing tasks; (3) interacting and relating with others; (4) moving about and manipulating objects; (5) caring for yourself; and (6) health and physical well-being. In making this assessment, one must compare how appropriately, effectively and independently the claimant performs activities compared to the performance of other children of the same age who do not have impairments. To functionally equal the listings, the claimant’s impairment or combination of impairments must result in “marked” limitations in two domains of functioning or an “extreme” limitation in one domain.

      Whether it is winning through the Listing or functionally equaling a Listing, the claimant must prove the case through supporting documentation.  Commonly, medical records, medical opinions, teacher questionnaires, letters from caregivers are all used to support a Childhood SSI claim.

      If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI matter, personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), EEOICPA claim, 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, through Facebook, or through our website.  Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, ChattanoogaKingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Jamestown, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.

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About farmerdreiser

Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, The Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser provide comprehensive representation to injured victims throughout eastern Tennessee in personal injury, Social Security disability, and workers' compensation cases.
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