Many people think that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that only affects veterans who have seen combat.
While PTSD rates are generally higher for veterans, the fact is that anyone who has suffered a serious trauma can have PTSD and may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
PTSD can develop in children or adults. Symptoms include flashbacks, reoccurring memories, and hyper-vigilance. These symptoms can get worse as time goes on, particularly if treatment is not sought.
Treatment can vary, but typically includes a combination of counseling, therapy, and medication.
As with many psychological conditions, PTSD can be tricky to prove to the Social Security Administration (SSA). A mere diagnosis of PTSD from a treating physician is insufficient to be approved for disability benefits. You must show that your symptoms are so severe that they prevent you from working in any capacity.
Listing 12.15, which went into effect at the beginning of 2017, details what SSA looks for in PTSD claims.
First, medical documentation must contain the exposure to the event that caused the PTSD, as well as subsequent involuntary re-experiencing of the event, avoidance of reminders, disturbances in mood and behavior, and increased, exaggerated responses, such as sleep disturbances or an exaggerated response to startling phenomenon.
In addition, the PTSD must cause either extreme limitations in one of the following or marked limitations in two of these categories:
· Understanding, remembering, and applying information
· Interacting with others
· Maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace
· Adapting or managing oneself
In the alternative, PTSD can be shown through two years of medically documented evidence detailing treatment that is diminishing the symptoms, yet still leaves the individual with minimal capacity to adjust to changes in the environment.
The important thing is to ensure that health care providers are including as much detail as possible in their notes, including what causes PTSD episodes, how long they last, how the PTSD affects your ability to function from day-to-day.
Admittedly, these are complicated cases, so a Social Security disability attorney experienced with handling mental health cases can be invaluable in preparing your case.