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PTSD and Disability Benefits

According to the Mayo Clinic, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that is triggered by a terrifying event, either experienced or witnessed. Some symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Some are able through time and self-care to recover from such events. However, individuals whose symptoms get worse, last for months or years, and interfere with day-to-day functioning may have PTSD.

Symptoms of PTSD include recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event; reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks); upsetting dreams or nightmares about the traumatic event; and severe emotional distress or physical reactions to things that remind you of the traumatic event. Individuals may suffer from negative changes in thinking or mood that include difficulty maintaining relationships, feelings of detachment, hopelessness, and memory problems, among others. Individuals may also experience being easily startled or frightened, always feeling on guard for danger, irritability, angry outbursts, or aggressive behavior.

If you are suffering from PTSD and are unable to work because of this condition, you may be able to be approved for disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) “blue book” of disabilities has a listing for PTSD that establishes the medical criteria that, if satisfied, will allow an individual to be approved for benefits. Even if the criteria of the “listing” is not directly satisfied, it may still be possible to be awarded disability benefits based on demonstrating that the totality of the record in you case indicates that you are unable to perform your past work or other work as a result of your PTSD or your PTSD in combination with other severe impairments. This will generally require more information about your daily life and activities of daily living and how they are impacted by your PTSD.

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