One of the most common medical conditions approved for Social Security Disability benefits is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you suffer from PTSD and are applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits, it’s important to stay informed so you know what to expect.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or rape or who have been threatened with death, sexual violence, or serious injury.
PTSD is not generalized anxiety disorder but is often confused with generalized anxiety disorder. Individuals with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) suffer from systematically and persistently high levels of anxiety. They may be commonly described as anxious individuals or people that worry too much.
A person suffering from this condition may also experience visible manifestations of distress like tissue strains or headaches, trouble sleeping or focusing, and irritation.
In addition to common anxiety symptoms, individuals with PTSD often experience vivid flashbacks, intrusive thoughts or images, nightmares, intense distress, and even physical sensations such as pain, sweating, nausea, or trembling.
Documenting PTSD for Disability
When you apply for SSDI or SSI benefits, you claim must be supported by solid medical evidence that your condition is serious and long-term. This is true for any medical condition, not just PTSD. To ensure you have a strong claim, consider the following questions:
Do you have a supportive medical provider? When determining your disability, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reviews your medical records for treatment notes and diagnostics that further describe your situation. It’s important to make sure you’re on the same page as your provider in terms of your diagnosis and limitations before applying. If your provider doesn’t agree that you suffer from PTSD or recommends you continue working, your claim is unlikely to be successful.
Do you seek out and comply with treatment? When suffering from any mental illness, it is often difficult to attend treatment sessions regularly. And some individuals struggle with medication compliance – starting and stopping medications that may improve their condition. It is important to comply with prescribed treatments since SSA will evaluate whether your condition responds to treatment. If your condition does respond or if there is a question as to whether you are complying with treatment, it is more difficult for SSA to find you disabled.
Many claimants with PTSD work with a disability lawyer while filing their claim. If you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD or another mental health condition, contact us today. We’d be happy to offer you a free consultation on your claim, with no obligation to hire our firm.