Getting Social Security Benefits for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Social Security disability benefits for Obsessive Compulsive DisorderObsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). These repetitive, irrational behaviors can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and relationships.

While it is common for people without OCD to have distressing thoughts or engage in repetitive behavior, they have the mental capability to rationalize these thoughts and behaviors. Those with OCD have persistent thoughts and believe that not behaving in a certain way could cause grave distress and danger. Even those with OCD who believe that their compulsions are unrealistic may be unable to disengage from their obsessive thoughts or compulsive actions.

Clinically-Diagnosed OCD Affects a Very Small Portion of Americans

To be diagnosed with OCD, a person must be consumed by their obsessions and compulsions more than one hour a day in a way that causes significant distress and impairs their work or social functioning. OCD affects roughly 2-3% of people in the United States.

OCD is typically treated with medication and therapy. Sometimes people with OCD have other mental conditions such as anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphic disorder.

In severe cases, even with treatment, OCD can be so disruptive to a person’s life that it becomes impossible to work. In order to qualify for Social Security Benefits for OCD, the condition must be well documented and severely debilitating.

Do You Qualify for Social Security Disability Benfits for Your OCD?

The Social Security Administration evaluates OCD under the broader umbrella of mental disorders, specifically anxiety disorders, under listing 12.00.

Learn More About Social Security "Listings"

As with other mental diagnoses, thorough, consistent medical documentation is most important. Ongoing treatment from a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist is critical to a successful disability claim. To get disability benefits for OCD, one must first have a diagnosis of OCD characterized by either involuntary, time-consuming preoccupation with intrusive, unwanted thoughts or by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing anxiety. Secondly, one must show that because of this there is an extreme limitation in one of the following areas or a “marked” limitation in two or more of the following areas:

  • Managing behavior, regulating emotions, caring for oneself, and adapting to change;
  • Being able to finish tasks and focus on work;
  • Being able to interact with others using socially appropriate behaviors; and/or
  • Learning, understanding, and remembering information and instructions.

Our Social Security Lawyers Can Help With Your Application or Your Appeal

It is difficult to obtain disability benefits for mental conditions like OCD. An experienced Social Security attorney will need to work closely with the applicant’s treating physician to acquire the proper documentation to present to the judge. Keller & Keller is a full-service disability firm. We are prepared to take a case through every step of the disability process even if it needs to be filed in Federal Court. Contact us today for a free consultation.

James R. Keller
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