How are PTSD and Disability-Related for Social Security?

If you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you may be wondering how PTSD and Disability are related to Social Security.

Will you be able to receive Social Security Disability if you suffer from PTSD?

How do you prove that you have a PTSD related disability and cannot work?

PTSD and Known Side Effects

Issues like severe depression and anxiety, hallucinations, irritability, memory, and difficulty sleeping are common mental health challenges for those experiencing PTSD.

In fact, PTSD has even been connected to physical concerns like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic pain as well.

As far as treatments go, there are no quick fixes for PTSD. Often, extensive therapy and counseling, as well as aid from medications, are needed (this is highly dependent upon the individual).

Documentation Social Security Requires for Your PTSD Claim

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) does often result in successful social security claims; however, for you to be successful, your diagnosis and treatment do need to be very well documented by your doctors and therapists.

While being evaluated about your eligibility for benefits, all your records will be considered. It is a good idea for your doctor to fill out a Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) form. This form will answer many questions for the SSA evaluator and also can directly relate your PTSD to your work limitations.

The RFC should tell evaluators your ability to sustain activity, concentrate, follow instructions, avoid absences, interact with others as well as being on time and no excessive breaks needed. Along with the RFC form, having a letter written by your doctor or treating therapist saying you are unable to work, is also potentially very important.

Required Evidence for Your PTSD Claim

The five documented evidence requirements for PTSD diagnosis for SSI are:

  • You must have had exposure to death, serious injury or violence
  • Repetitive dreams, flashbacks, intrusive memories or hallucinations
  • Avoidance of physical reminders of the event
  • Disturbance(s) in mood or behavior
  • Increased loss of sleep or easily startled

How PTSD Creates Difficulty with Day-to-Day Activities

In addition to having a diagnosis, you should also seek to demonstrate difficulty with one or two of these items:

  • Self-care such as cooking, cleaning, bathing, or dressing
  • Controlling your emotions and adapting to change
  • Interaction with the public or other people in general
  • Concentrating
  • Following instruction when it comes to learning new tasks and information

If You Do Not Suffer From the Above

If you are not currently suffering from any of the particular reasons above you must prove that you either:

  • Have had severe PTSD for at least the past two years (hard to prove if you do not reflect the challenges stated above); or,
  • Currently having medical treatment or mental health treatment in a specialized protected facility; or, 
  • Unable to adapt to changes

Final Thoughts on PTSD & Social Security

As with Sleep Apnea, or any other disability challenge, the diagnosis is only half the fight.  The greater half is how it affects you on a daily basis. 

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