People who have agoraphobia can qualify for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration detailed specific criteria that people must meet to qualify for agoraphobia-caused disability. Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder that causes people to fear general environments because they’re afraid of a panic attack occurring and being unable to escape the environment. People who have agoraphobia often avoid situations where they worry a panic attack will happen.
For someone to qualify for disability benefits, their agoraphobia must be debilitating. Their fear of specific environments due to a potential panic attack could make them unable to work, go to school, operate a vehicle or function properly outside of their home.
Is Agoraphobia Classed as a Disability?
Agoraphobia could classify as a disability. Since agoraphobia resembles many of the characteristics of panic disorders — and includes a history of panic attacks — the Social Security Administration evaluates agoraphobia and panic disorders in the same way.
Since panic disorders and agoraphobia are common but not always debilitating, the criteria to qualify for disability is extensive. To meet the Social Security Administration’s guidelines for agoraphobia and disability benefits, people must have one of the following:
- Panic attacks followed by a persistent worry about future panic attacks
- An abnormal fear or stress about two unique general situations, such as being in an enclosed space, being in line at a store or using public transportation
Additionally, people must have either a hindrance in specific areas of mental functioning, such as understanding or remembering information, interacting with others or concentrating, or a history of medical treatment and documented inability to adapt to changes within their environment. Anyone who meets these criteria could be considered unable to function outside of their home.