Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may make it impossible for you to work. If your PTSD prevents you from holding a job, you may be eligible for healthcare and monthly benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) in the year 2022 has awarded disability benefits to approximately 3,38,000 workers for mental disability such as PTSD. 

To guide you in a better way if you are eligible for applying for PTSD, this blog will go over what to do if meet and do not meet the eligibility criteria of PTSD.

Can You Get Disability Benefits For PTSD?

Yes, it is possible to obtain disability benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder when the symptoms prevent you from doing the job and you are unable to take care of yourself. The process of applying for and receiving disability benefits for PTSD can be complex. Disability benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can provide financial support to individuals who are unable to work or have significant impairments due to the condition for at least 12 months or more.

To be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, individuals with PTSD typically need to provide medical documentation that confirms the diagnosis and demonstrates the severity of their symptoms and the resulting functional impairment. This may include medical records, treatment history, psychiatric evaluations, and statements from mental health professionals. 

It is important to have comprehensive and well-documented evidence that clearly establishes the impact of PTSD on your ability to work and perform daily activities. 

How Does The SSA Define PTSD?

Many people may struggle with PTSD, which is a mental disorder that may affect their lives after they have witnessed a traumatic event. Military veterans may experience trauma which may be emotional, psychological, or physical. 

Therefore, SSA classifies PTSD as related to stress or trauma. They will also analyze for symptoms such as mood change, behavior change, and involuntary flashbacks for a particular event. 

Is PTSD a Disability?

Yes, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can be considered a disability under the SSA’s criteria mentioned in listing 12.15 or 112.15. It can cause significant distress and impact a person’s daily functioning, including their ability to work and engage in social activities.

To determine eligibility for PTSD benefits, an applicant can apply for SSDI or SSI benefits. To establish disability due to PTSD, it is typically necessary to provide medical evidence and documentation demonstrating the condition’s severity and impact on your ability to work and carry out daily activities. 

PTSD is also a qualifying disability under the permanent VA Disability. PTSD is a severe disability that impacts mental abilities, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans with such disorders may be eligible to pursue disability benefits.

What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a mental health condition that an individual may experience after witnessing a traumatic event. Traumatic events can include but are not limited to military combat, sexual assault, natural disasters, and accidents. PTSD can affect individuals of all ages and can have a profound impact on their emotional well-being, thoughts, behaviors, and overall quality of life.

 It is a recognized mental health disorder that can be diagnosed and treated by qualified healthcare professionals. Treatment options for PTSD often include therapy, medication, and various forms of support. 

What Are The Symptoms Of PTSD?

The symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can vary from person to person but generally fall into four main categories: re-experiencing, avoidance, negative mood and cognition, and hyperarousal. 

Re-experiencing symptoms:

  • Intrusive memories or flashbacks of the traumatic event.
  • Nightmares related to the trauma.
  • Intense emotional or physical reactions to reminders of the event.
  • Distressing or overwhelming memories that feel as though the event is happening again.

Avoidance symptoms:

  • Avoiding situations, places, or people that remind the person of the trauma.
  • Efforts to suppress or avoid thoughts or memories of the event.
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.
  • Feeling emotionally numb or detached from others.

Negative mood and cognition symptoms:

  • Persistent negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world.
  • Persistent negative emotional states, such as fear, anger, or sadness.
  • Difficulty remembering key aspects of the traumatic event.
  • Feelings of guilt, shame, or self-blame related to the trauma.

Hyperarousal symptoms:

  • Hypervigilance or exaggerated startle response.
  • Feeling constantly on edge or easily irritated.
  • Difficulty concentrating or sleeping.
  • Engaging in reckless or self-destructive behaviors.

The following are some common qualifying conditions you may experience alongside PTSD are as follows: 

  • Panic attacks 
  • Insomnia 

Which Disability Benefits Should You Apply For With PTSD?

There are two types of disability benefits for which you can apply.

SSA’s Eligibility Criteria For PTSD

To qualify for PTSD disability benefits, you need to prove that your medical condition is ongoing, debilitating, and making it impossible for you to engage in day-to-day activities or hold a job. 

You must consider meeting the eligibility criteria for PTSD before applying for disability benefits. An applicant needs to meet the criteria listed under Section A and the conditions mentioned in Section B or C. 

Section A

An applicant must have medical documentation of the following:

  • You are threatened with death or violence
  • You are reexperiencing an event through flashbacks, dreams, and other memories
  • You do not want to remember the event
  • Experiencing mood changes or behavior modifications
  • You are facing difficulty in sleeping 

Section B

An applicant is experiencing limitations in one of the following areas such as:

  • Understanding or remembering information
  • Social interaction
  • The problem with concentration in any work-related activities
  • Issues in adapting to emotions or behavior

Section C

Your PTSD has lasted for approximately 2 years and you must have the following evidence:

  • Documents of medical treatment, support, or any therapies
  • Difficulty in adapting to any change 

Questions To Answer Before Applying For PTSD Disability Benefits

  • Do you have to avoid going to places that remind you of past trauma?
  • Are you able to get easily triggered?
  • Do you experience flashbacks or nightmares?
  • Are you facing difficulty in communicating with others?

What If My PTSD Meets The Criteria?

The next step is to apply for PTSD disability benefits, which typically involve various steps discussed below.

  • Gather necessary documentation: Collect all relevant medical records, including diagnosis of PTSD, treatment history, and any supporting documentation from healthcare professionals.
  • Review eligibility criteria:  Understand the specific requirements related to PTSD and the level of impairment needed to qualify.
  • Complete the application: Fill out the disability benefits application form, providing accurate and detailed information about your condition, medical history, and functional limitations caused by PTSD.
  • Include supporting evidence: Attach all relevant medical documentation, including diagnostic reports, treatment records, therapy notes, and any statements from mental health professionals. These documents should demonstrate the severity of your symptoms and their impact on your daily functioning.
  • Send the application to SSA: Send your completed application and supporting documents to the SSA, following their instructions regarding submission methods and deadlines.
  • Follow up and provide additional information if requested: It is possible that the disability benefits agency may request additional information or schedule a medical evaluation. Cooperate fully and provide any requested documentation promptly.

What If My PTSD Doesn’t Meet The Criteria?

If your PTSD does not meet the specific criteria outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for disability benefits, it may be more challenging to qualify for benefits based solely on your PTSD diagnosis. 

Even if you do not meet the specific criteria for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) outlined by the Social Security Administration (SSA), an experienced disability attorney will highlight the limitations and challenges you face due to your impairments, focusing on how these impairments collectively prevent you from engaging in substantial gainful activity.

How Much Is The Disability Check For PTSD?

The amount of disability benefits for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) varies based on several factors, including the individual’s work history and earnings. The Social Security Administration (SSA) calculates disability benefits using a complex formula that considers the individual’s average lifetime earnings covered by Social Security. The exact amount of the disability check can vary from person to person. However, the average amount for applicants struggling with PTSD is $1229.06.

PTSD Disability Claim Denied? Contact a Disability Lawyer

If your disability claim for PTSD is denied, an experienced Social Security disability lawyer can provide valuable assistance. They can guide you through the appeal process, which involves filing a request for reconsideration or requesting a hearing before an administrative law judge. They will help you understand the necessary steps, compile additional evidence, and prepare a strong case for reconsideration.

Disability Conditions That May Qualify For Benefits

Blindness Brain Tumor AFIB Autism
BPD Cancer Narcolepsy PTSD
Vertigo Schizophrenia Seizure Dyslexia
Celiac Disease Anxiety Depression ADHD
Agoraphobia Alopecia Asthma Bipolar
Breast Cancer Dementia Dysautonomia Epilepsy
Fibromyalgia Hearing Loss lupus POTS
Scoliosis Sleep Apnea Diabetes