Anxiety Disorders Meet Requirements of Listing of Impairments

Martha, age 44, who has been unable to work for two-plus years, has received a fully favorable ruling from the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR), a mere five days after her hearing. The administrative judge found her disabled because of anxiety disorders so severe that “your impairment(s) meets the requirements of one of the impairments listed in the Listing of Impairments.”

Martha, who did not finish high school, worked in commercial cleaning, though had not worked for six years before her hearing.

As the Social Security Administration notes on its website, “The Listing of Impairments describes, for each major body system, impairments considered severe enough to prevent an individual from doing any gainful activity … Most of the listed impairments are permanent or expected to result in death, or the listing includes a specific statement of duration is made.”

If a judge finds someone matches the requirements of the impairment, the person automatically qualifies for disability benefits.

Within the listings of impairments (known as listings), the SSA also lists the requirements, in terms of such elements as symptoms and effects, that must be met, to be certain the person’s condition warrants automatic approval for benefits. In the case of Martha Doe and the anxiety disorders, there were a number of requirements, in two separate categories, that had to be met. Meeting the listing can be quite complicated.

While the ODAR judge awarded disability benefits on the basis of the anxiety-related disorders listing, Attorney Neil Good outlined more of Martha’s issues in a detailed pre-hearing memo. Besides mental health issues she also suffers disorders of the spine with degenerative changes, plus a disk bulge, forminal stenosis, and lumbar stenosis. Other issues include recurring plantar fascitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, nephrolithiasis of the kidneys, and persistent renal calculi. She also suffers from depression. Medications include Vistaril, Zoloft, Lorazepam, Risperdol, Avair, Seroquel, and Albuterol.

Attorney Good showed how the client’s symptoms and conditions met and equaled the listings, as required by the Social Security Administration. The hearing judge agreed with Attorney Good’s assertion that Martha is completely disabled. Attorney Good had said, “due to the serious nature of (her) disabilities, we are requesting a ruling based on the record as soon as possible.”

Martha had applied for benefits twice before and had been denied. Her being granted benefits came after she received representation with Attorney Good, who obtained detailed medical evidence and records from medical providers, which was presented before and at the hearing.