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Can You Get Disability for Past Traumatic Events?

by | May 31, 2024 | SSD - Social Security Disability Benefits For Mental Conditions |

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common, yet complex, mental health diagnosis that many people are familiar with.

It usually develops when someone experiences a traumatic event (abuse, combat, a violent attack), often leading to ongoing re-experiencing of these events or drastic changes in behavior to avoid thoughts about the trauma.

While many claimants seeking disability allege PTSD as at least one of their impairments, an unusual feature of the condition is that it often does not begin around the time the claimant stops working, which is very common with physical impairments, or even depression and anxiety.

In many cases, the roots of PTSD begin with an incident that occurred decades ago. In the intervening years, many people go on to live somewhat normal lives and even have fulfilling careers that can last years.

This can sometimes cause issues in getting approved for disability benefits. Many judges will ask claimants how this was possible that they worked for decades after a traumatic incident before it rendered them disabled.

The thing is, PTSD symptoms can often be worsened by changes in one’s life. Something could happen at the job or in the claimant’s personal life that could remind them of the individual trauma, greatly exacerbating symptoms that were previously controlled.

When applying for disability benefits for PTSD, it’s important to note what mental health changes have occurred so that Social Security has a better understanding of why you are applying for disability now as opposed to years ago. This is also something to make sure you discuss your attorney when seeking disability benefits.

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