Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by either witnessing or experiencing a terrifying or traumatic event. Those who have PTSD suffer from severe anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares and uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatic event. Research has shown that unlike simple stress, PTSD tends to change body and brain chemistry. Treatment for PTSD may involve counseling, cognitive and behavioral therapy, medications such as anti-depressants and antipsychotics, or a combination of one or more of these treatments.
The most common events leading to the development of PTSD include combat exposure, childhood neglect, physical abuse, sexual assault or being threatened with a weapon. Other traumatic events such as a fire, mugging, robbery, car accidents, kidnapping, heart attack or getting a life-threatening medical diagnosis may also lead to PTSD.
PTSD Disability Claims
Generally, there are two ways under which patients with PTSD may be eligible for disability benefits. PTSD cases are approved by the Social Security Administration either by satisfying the medical requirements under the SSA’s list of anxiety disorders or by getting a “medical-vocational allowance.” What this means is that if the Social Security Administration (SSA) finds that your PTSD symptoms are not severe enough to meet the listing but is severe enough that you cannot work, it will award a medical allowance. The latter is the manner in which a majority of SSD disability claims are approved.
In order to meet the medical requirements for an anxiety disorder, you must be able to show that you have disruptive flashbacks or nightmares that are often the source of distress for you. You must be able to show that this type of significant distress interferes with your everyday activities, social life and ability to focus. If you have symptoms such as panic attacks, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) or anxiety due to your PTSD that hamper your ability to lead a normal life and make a livelihood, you may qualify for these benefits.
To be considered for a medical-vocational allowance, the disability claims examiner must determine that you don’t meet the requirements for anxiety listing, but that your symptoms are still severe enough to prevent you from working. Those suffering from PTSD often suffer from fatigue, memory issues and trouble concentrating, which can also affect a person’s ability to function and maintain a job.
The Medical Evidence You Need
The contents of your medical records may determine the outcome of your SSD claim application. Your medical records should show evidence of at least one detailed PTSD episode including the frequency and duration of panic attacks or other symptoms. Your medical provider should also include in your record comments about whether your symptoms coincide with his or her assessment of your metal state. It is also crucial that your medical record contain information about how your PTSD symptoms affect your ability to function, personally and professionally.
If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms that are affecting your ability to work and earn a living, it is important that you contact an experienced Social Security Disability lawyer who can help you navigate what can be a complex process as well as secure the monetary support you need during this difficult time. Please call for a free – no obligation evaluation of your case at 1-800-992-6878.