Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD And Social Security Disability Benefits

What Is PTSD?
Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits If I Suffer From PTSD?
Is There A Specific Listing For PTSD?
If I Do Not Meet The Listing, Is There Another Way To Get Social Security Disability Benefits?
 

 

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, more commonly known as “PTSD,” is a severe anxiety disorder. PTSD usually develops after an individual has been exposed to an event resulting in psychological trauma. The event usually involves a threat of death or imminent bodily harm. For this reason, PTSD is fairly common among military veterans. PTSD can significantly impair one’s ability to function. For example, those suffering from PTSD often try to avoid certain places or things that can increase their anxiety. If you suffer from PTSD, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits (whether SSDI or SSI), feel free to fill out our online no obligation free consultation form.

 

 

Can I Get Social Security Disability Benefits If I Suffer From PTSD?

PTSD is absolutely recognized by the Social Security Administration! However, it can be very difficult to win a Social Security disability benefits case for PTSD. Unlike many physical conditions where a judge can actually look at you and tell right away how and where you are suffering, PTSD is an unseen mental condition. For this reason, it is imperative when you are applying for disability benefits to make sure that you are seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist regularly and that they are writing down all of your complaints and issues. Having your doctor fill out a Mental Impairment Evaluation can be especially helpful when applying for disability benefits with PTSD. If your doctor refuses to fill one out, which is fairly common, make sure that your family members or anyone that you are close with provides the Social Security Administration with detailed information about how PTSD limits your daily functioning.

If you suffer from PTSD and it is preventing you from earning more than $1000 a month in gross wages for at least 12 months, you may qualify for Social Security disability benefits (whether SSDI or SSI). When you apply for disability benefits with PTSD, the Social Security Administration will first determine whether your condition is severe enough to meet a listing. If you meet a listing, fantastic, you will be found disabled! If you do not meet a listing, the Social Security Administration will then evaluate your residual functional capacity (the most work that you can do despite your medical condition(s)) and determine whether you are entitled to disability benefits.

 

 

Is There A Specific Listing For PTSD?

The Social Security Administration recognizes PTSD under Listing of Impairments 12.06: Anxiety-related disorders. Below is the listing:

12.06 Anxiety-related disorders:
In these disorders anxiety is either the predominant disturbance or it is experienced if the individual attempts to master symptoms; for example, confronting the dreaded object or situation in a phobic disorder or resisting the obsessions or compulsions in obsessive compulsive disorders.
The required level of severity for these disorders is met when the requirements in both A and B are satisfied, or when the requirements in both A and C are satisfied.
A. Medically documented findings of at least one of the following:
1. Generalized persistent anxiety accompanied by three out of four of the following signs or symptoms:
a. Motor tension; or
b. Autonomic hyperactivity; or
c. Apprehensive expectation; or
d. Vigilance and scanning; or
2. 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
3. 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; or
4. Recurrent obsessions or compulsions which are a source of marked distress; or
5. Recurrent and intrusive recollections of a traumatic experience, which are a source of marked distress;
AND
B. Resulting in at least two of the following:
1. Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or
2. Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or
3. Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or
4. Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.
OR
C. Resulting in complete inability to function independently outside the area of one’s home.

Listing 12.06 can be found on the Social Security Administration website. However, because most of the listing is structured using medical terminology, it can be quite difficult to know whether you will meet the listing for PTSD. If you or a family member suffers from PTSD and are unable to work and want to know more about whether you might qualify for Social Security disability benefits, contact Social Security Defenders or fill out our free online consultation form.

 

 

If I Do Not Meet The Listing, Is There Another Way To Get Social Security Disability Benefits?

Yes! If you do not meet Listing 12.06 and PTSD is preventing you from working, you may still qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

The Social Security Administration will proceed with your case by evaluating your Residual Functional Capacity. To do this, the Administration will determine the most amount of work that you can do despite your limitations. They do this by dividing “work” into four different categories: heavy, medium, light, and sedentary. It is worth noting that there is sometimes a fifth category that is recognized for very heavy work; however, very heavy work is scarcely used. Whether a claimant wins his or her disability claim is greatly affected by which category he or she is ultimately put into. Being put into a lower category increases the likelihood that a claim is approved for Social Security disability benefits. For more information on residual functional capacity, feel free to visit an article we published on GoingLegal.

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