Roise Has Panic Attacks, Can’t Work, And Is Now Out of Money


“Dear Steve,

I worked as a teacher for sixteen years. I developed disabling panic attacks which would no longer allow me to work.

Soon after, I filed for bankruptcy. I later applied for social security disability in 2001 but was denied.

In 2003 I was forced to sell my home in order to have money to live. I began renting an apartment with a roommate and have managed to frugally live on the proceeds of the sale until now. I was able to reestablish an excellent credit record. But my funds have now been completely depleted and my credit cards have been my sole source of support the last several months. I have nothing left, no money and no family or friends that can help in any way.

I tried reapplying for social security disability recently but was denied again. All I have is some credit card credit left. But by next month, I will no longer be able to make my minimum payments, pay rent/utilities, or buy food.

My roommate was just laid off and cannot help either. I am 46 years old and facing homelessness and hunger. I am completely terrified. I am a good person and have always been a very good money manager. I suffer from extreme anxiety disorder and after many years of therapy and treatment, my condition just will not go away. I do not have the money for anymore treatment, and I have continually looked for work that I can do at home, but I just have not been able to find anything.

What do I do? I’m afraid I am a hopeless case. Thank you for reading this.


Dear Rosie,

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I’m so sorry that you are living through this situation and a resurgence of your panic attacks. Debt does not help anxiety, it intensifies it.

The biggest issue is that for whatever reason, you have held off finding a solution for this terrible situation until the very last minute. Debt problems are not like a fine wine, they don’t get better with age.

I understand the limiting factors of your situation with the anxiety and panic attacks. I feel for you but that does not change the fact that you have no money coming in to live on, to safely shelter yourself or to keep you warm.

The reality of your situation is that once you started living on credit cards to get by, you were also living on very borrowed time. With cash gone, credit gone and soon, your apartment potentially gone, there is a good chance that you may wind up homeless.

The good news is that there might be some solutions to provide advice and assistance.

Although disability claims based upon mental impairments may be harder to achieve an allowance at the initial and reconsiderations levels, these claims have a fair chance of allowance at the administrative law judge hearing. Therefore it would be sound advice to appeal your claim if you are denied at the initial and reconsideration levels of the Social Security disability process.

Specific guidelines for anxiety related disorders are found in Social Security’s Listing Of Impairments in Section 12.06. According to these guidelines an anxiety sufferer must have “a persistent irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation which results in a compelling desire to avoid the dreaded object, activity, or situation. Or recurrent severe panic attacks manifested by a sudden unpredictable onset of intense apprehension, fear, terror and sense of impending doom occurring on the average of at least once a week”.

Since the Social Security Administration approves panic attack disability benefits on a case by case basis, there is a formal application process. There are strict guidelines for average monthly income made year-to-date, case severity, and future work plausibility. However, for those stricken with debilitating anxiety and panic attacks that make work impossible, it offers a glimmer of hope and financial assistance.

But even with all these helpful tips we can’t take our eye off the primary issue, the lack of income. Establishing a source of income must be the number one priority. Without income you will not have many, if any, choices. I would suggest taking a look on Snag A Job for places that are hiring, right now, in your area.

Rosie, I think that if you put effort into exploring all of these options that out of it you may create at least an emergency solution that may assist you.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
Steve Rhode
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