Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that is characterized by a failure to recover from the effects of seeing or experiencing a traumatic event, such as an accident, violence, abuse, rape or a natural disaster. This condition is common among members of the military who have served in combat.
Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety and depression and can cause an individual to avoid certain situations that remind him or her of the traumatic event. Any of these symptoms can affect an individual's day-to-day activities.
If you are suffering from PTSD and are unable to work because of the side effects of your condition, it may be possible to obtain Social Security Disability benefits. However, it is vital that your condition is well-documented.
The Social Security Administration classifies PTSD as a trauma- or stressor-related disorder. Common characterizations of PTSD include:
- Difficulty with memory and/or concentration
- Anxiety and/or fear
- Difficulty sleeping
- Emotions of shame, guilt or hopelessness
The effects of PTSD can be long-lasting and may worsen if not treated. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychotherapy, counseling and/or medication may be used as treatment.
Documentation Requirements for PTSD
When making a claim for disability benefits due to your PTSD, the SSA requires medical documentation of all of the following:
- Exposure to a traumatic event, such as violence, serious injury, or threatened or actual death
- Resulting involuntary re-experiencing of the traumatic event, such as flashbacks, intrusive memories or dreams
- Avoidance of triggers that remind you of the event
- Mood and/or behavioral disturbances
- Increased reactivity and/or arousal, such as sleep disturbance or inflated startle response
The SSA also requires documentation of your mental limitations because of your PTSD. You must display one extreme limitation or two marked limitations in your ability to:
- Comprehend, recall or apply information
- Interact with other people
- Focus, persist or maintain your pace
- Manage yourself or adapt
If you do not display any of the mental limitation requirements, it may be possible to obtain benefits if your condition is considered serious and persistent. Your disorder must be documented for a minimum of two years, with evidence of:
- Treatment of your PTSD by medication, mental health therapy or psychosocial therapy or involvement in an ongoing, structured setting that decreases the signs and symptoms of PTSD.
- Minimal ability to adapt when faced with environmental changes or demands outside of your regular daily life.
Obtaining disability for mental health conditions like PTSD can be difficult. If you need assistance filing for Social Security disability benefits due to your post-traumatic stress disorder, the Social Security Disability lawyers at Dayes Law Firm PC are available to assist you. We will help you gather the medical documentation you need for a successful claim and will handle all of the details of filing a claim for the first time or appealing a denied claim.
Call 1-800-503-2000 today for a free, no-obligation legal consultation.