Agoraphobia can be considered a disability if it significantly impairs a person’s ability to perform major life activities, such as working, interacting with others, or engaging in normal daily activities.

In the United States, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination in various areas, including employment, public accommodations, and government services. To be recognized as a disability under the ADA, agoraphobia must substantially limit one or more major life activities.

If a person’s agoraphobia meets the criteria set forth by the SSA and significantly impacts their ability to work or function, they may be eligible for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income benefits. However, eligibility for disability benefits depends on meeting specific medical and non-medical criteria, including work history and financial need.

What is Agoraphobia?

Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder characterized by fear of situations or places that might cause embarrassment, panic attacks, or feeling trapped. People with agoraphobia tend to avoid places or situations where they fear they might be unable to escape or find help if they experience intense anxiety or panic. 

Commonly avoided situations include crowded places, public transportation, open spaces, and outside the home alone. 

Can you get disability benefits for agoraphobia?

Yes, it is possible to obtain disability benefits for agoraphobia if the condition meets the criteria set forth by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability eligibility. To be considered eligible for disability benefits based on agoraphobia, the following conditions must be met:

  • Medical Evidence: There must be comprehensive medical evidence, including diagnoses, treatment history, and evaluations from qualified healthcare professionals, supporting the existence and severity of agoraphobia.
  • Duration of Disability: The symptoms of agoraphobia must have lasted or been expected to last 12 months or more.
  • Inability to Work: The agoraphobia must be severe enough to prevent the individual from engaging in substantial gainful activity (SGA), defined as earning a certain amount of income through work.
  • Medically Determinable Impairment: The agoraphobia must be a medically determinable impairment recognized by the SSA and supported by objective medical evidence.

Types of Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia is generally classified into different types based on the specific situations or places that trigger fear and avoidance. The types of agoraphobia include:

  • Fear of Open Spaces: This type involves a fear of open or wide spaces, such as parks, parking lots, or large public areas, where the individual may feel vulnerable and unable to find safety.
  • Fear of Crowded Places: Some individuals with agoraphobia may fear being in crowded places, such as shopping malls, concerts, or public transportation, where they might feel overwhelmed and unable to escape.
  • Fear of Being Alone Outside the Home: This type involves a fear of leaving the safety of one’s home and being alone in public places, which can trigger anxiety and panic.
  • Fear of Using Public Transportation: People with this type of agoraphobia fear using public transportation, such as buses, trains, or airplanes, due to the perceived lack of control and the potential for panic attacks.
  • Fear of Being in Enclosed Spaces: Some may fear being in enclosed spaces like elevators, tunnels, or rooms without accessible exits, leading to avoidance behaviors.
  • Fear of Leaving Home: This type involves a fear of leaving one’s home altogether, leading to significant isolation and confinement to the safety of the home environment.

Symptoms of Agoraphobia

The symptoms of agoraphobia can vary from person to person but generally involve intense anxiety and fear related to specific situations or places. Common symptoms of agoraphobia include:

  • Avoidance Behavior: Avoidance of the feared situations or places to prevent feelings of panic or anxiety. This can lead to a restricted lifestyle and difficulty engaging in everyday activities.
  • Panic Attacks: Individuals with agoraphobia often experience panic attacks, which are sudden and intense episodes of fear or discomfort.
  • Physical Symptoms: Physical symptoms can accompany anxiety or panic attacks, such as rapid heartbeat, sweating, trembling, shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, and nausea.
  • Anxiety in Anticipation: Anxiety or distress when anticipating or thinking about going to the feared places or situations.
  • Dependence on Others: Relying on others for support or assistance to go to certain
  • Isolation: Avoiding social situations and becoming increasingly isolated due to fear, anxiety, and depression.

How to get disability benefits for agoraphobia?

To apply for disability benefits for agoraphobia, follow these steps:

  • Gather Medical Records: Collect all medical records related to your agoraphobia, including diagnoses, treatment history, medications, and evaluations
  • Document Functional Limitations: Detail how agoraphobia affects your daily life, work, and ability to perform basic activities.
  • Complete the Application: Complete the disability benefits application online through the Social Security Administration website or by visiting a local SSA office. 
  • Follow Up: After submitting your application, stay in touch with the SSA and respond promptly to any requests for additional information.

What is the agoraphobia disability check amount?

The agoraphobia disability check amount may vary depending on the individual’s condition. However, an individual may get $3,627 for SSDI and $914 for SSI benefits every month in 2023. The average amount may be nearly $1232 for mental disorders.

What happens if you do not meet the eligibility criteria of the SSA?

If you do not meet the agoraphobia disability eligibility criteria of the SSA, you will not be considered eligible for disability benefits based solely on agoraphobia. If the SSA determines that your agoraphobia does not meet their disability eligibility criteria, your claim for disability benefits based on agoraphobia will be denied. 

The SSA’s decision can be appealed if you believe it was made in error or if your medical condition worsens over time. You may want to seek help from a disability lawyer to navigate the application and appeals process effectively.