Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is often depicted as harmlessly comic in television and movies. Felix Unger from "The Odd Couple" and Adrian Monk from "Monk" both suffered from OCD. Bill Murray played the disorder for laughs in the movie "What About Bob?" However, the real-life disorder is often a lot less funny -- and can even be totally disabling.
Here are five things that you should know about filing for Social Security disability benefits due to OCD:
1.) You aren't alone in your condition.
OCD affects over 2 million American adults and affects both men and women equally. It may run in families and about one-third of sufferers develop the disorder as children. Symptoms can come and go, with stress or illness aggravating the condition. About 50% of people with OCD have symptoms that severely limit their ability to function normally. That makes it a readily diagnosable condition that many physicians recognize.
2.) OCD is listed as a disabling disorder in SSA's "Blue Book."
The "Blue Book" refers to the manual that disability examiners use to determine whether or not someone is disabled. While your condition doesn't have to be listed in it to qualify as disabling, having it listed there can make getting approved much easier. OCD falls under section 12.06 of the Blue Book, as an anxiety-related disorder.
3.) In order to qualify for disability benefits due to your OCD, you have to have medical documentation of at least one of the following problems:
Chronic anxiety with three out of four symptoms: physical tension, hypervigilance, severe apprehension, or uncontrollable hyperactivity.
A persistent irrational fear of one or more specific activities, objects, or situations which cause you to go out of your way to avoid them. For example, a fear of germs so bad that you can't touch doorknobs, shake hands, or eat in public.
Panic attacks that occur at least once a week.
Compulsive or obsessive behaviors that distress you. For example, being unable to leave your apartment without unplugging the stove, the toaster, the coffee pot, lamps, and other electrical devices because you're afraid of fire and then checking to make sure that you didn't miss anything at least 3 times.
Intrusive memories of a traumatic experience that causes you continual distress.
4.) Once you pass that hurdle, you still have to meet one of the following conditions:
Your OCD has to keep you from functioning independently outside of the area of your own home.
Your OCD has to cause at least two out of three symptoms: severe problems handling daily living, intense problems maintaining social relationships, an inability to maintain your concentration or keep pace with others, or repeated episodes of where your symptoms get worse and stay that way for a while.
5.) Your description of how OCD affects your daily activities can make or break your case.
When you submit your application for benefits you'll be asked to provide medical evidence of your diagnosis, as well as what treatments and medications you've tried for your condition. However, the single most important thing that you'll be asked is how your OCD affects your "activities of daily living."
What this refers to is how your OCD interferes with your ability to do ordinary things like bathing, dressing, cleaning, using the phone, driving, managing your medications, and handling your finances. This is where you need to describe exactly how your OCD limits you. Try to use vivid descriptions of actual events in your life as examples in order to explain your problems.
For example, a very famous victim of OCD was billionaire Howard Hughes. His OCD was so severe that he once spent 90 minutes waiting for someone to open a bathroom door for him because he couldn't touch the knob. His OCD manifested in a severe phobia of germs that ended up dominating his life.
Filing for any sort of disability claim can be frustrating and stressful. If you already suffer from a disorder like OCD that worsens under stress, consider seeking help from an attorney, such as Todd East Attorney at Law, who can help walk you through the process.Share