Getting Social Security Disability Benefits for PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that is characterized by anxiety, intrusive thoughts, mood changes, etc. The disorder usually develops after an individual experiences mental trauma such as death of a loved one, abuse, violence, or a serious injury. More than 40 million people in the US today suffer from PTSD. The Social Security Administration offers disability benefits to individuals who suffer from PTSD due to any traumatic event.
Proving Disability to the Social Security Administration
Proving disability due to post-traumatic stress disorder requires extensive medical documentation. In order to qualify for disability benefits, an individual must experience symptoms from all of the following categories for at least a month.
- Shift in reactivity – Certain symptoms such as sleep disturbances, hyper-vigilance, memory problems, irritability, etc. signify shift in reactivity associated with the event.
- Significant mood changes – This includes persistent negative emotional state, detachment from social network, and loss of interest in daily activities.
- Intrusive thoughts – Symptoms included in this category are nightmares, flashbacks, involuntary movements, and excessive distress.
- Avoidance of stimuli – This includes avoiding anything associated with the specific event such as the place, feelings, thoughts, people, etc.
Filing a Disability Claim for PTSD
An individual suffering from post traumatic stress disorder may qualify for availing SSD and SSI benefits by proving their disability in two ways. The first way is to satisfy the impairment listing requirements of the SSA, and the second is to get a medical vocational allowance.
Satisfying the SSA Listing Requirements
Someone who is suffering from PTSD may prove their disability to the SSA by providing a history of disruption in the daily life activities caused by the symptoms of PTSD such as nightmares and flashback. In order to increase the chances of winning the disability claim, an individual should keep a detailed record of any unusual activities and feelings, current and past medications, and illnesses that restricted them from performing daily tasks.
A person who has suffered from a mental disorder due to PTSD such as phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, etc., may prove their disability by fulfilling the mental impairment listing requirements of the SSA.
Availing a Medical Vocational Allowance
Individuals who do not qualify under impairment listing requirements may be awarded disability benefits on the basis of their ‘residual functional capacity’ or RFC. RFC looks at how much a person’s memory, social life, and understanding ability have been affected due to poor sleep patterns, nightmares, and flashbacks.
Improving Your Chances of Winning a PTSD Disability Claim
It is very important to consult an attorney who can guide you through the process of filing and winning a disability claim. You may also be required to see a psychiatrist or psychologist who can identify your symptoms, record them, and monitor the progression of your illness.
A social security disability attorney can provide invaluable help to individuals who are struggling to avail disability benefits due to PTSD. Brock and Stout’s Social Security Disability Attorneys are a team of professional and experienced attorneys who have helped thousands of individuals in filing and winning a disability claim. If you want to avail our services, you may call us at 1-800-884-9600 or fill our online contact form and we will get back to you.