If I have PTSD, am I disabled?

January 4, 2022 in

Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder does not automatically mean you are disabled. The meaning of disability is different depending on what type of program or definition you are using. For example, the Veterans Administration determines disability for PTSD based on a percentage rating. Whereas the social security disability system uses an all-or-nothing definition of disability. If you find yourself in a situation where you have worked and paid taxes into the social security disability system for the past 5 out of 10 years, and you are unable to work at this point due to your medical condition, applying for disability benefits through the social security administration may be the right avenue for you. At the same time, if your PTSD is caused by your military service, you may be eligible for additional benefits through the veterans’ administration. It is a good idea to contact your local VA representative to see what benefits might be available for you. A third avenue that can be done simultaneously is if you have private disability benefits you may be eligible to receive additional disability benefits through your private insurance company. All three programs mentioned have different ways of determining eligibility for disability. These three examples are not the only programs out there. In this article we are going to specifically discuss how suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder is evaluated for social security disability benefits.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that occurs in response to an experienced or witnessed traumatic event. Typically post-traumatic stress disorder is associated with veterans or service members. However, this condition does not only affect those who have served in the military. Anyone who experiences or witnesses a traumatic event may be impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder. The typical symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder include hypervigilance or always being on guard, being easily startled or frightened decreased concentration, irritability, feelings of guilt, flashbacks, and nightmares. Five post-traumatic stress disorder signs to look for include suffering from a life-threatening event, internal reminders of the event, avoidance of external reminders, anxiety, and changes in mood. There are four types of post-traumatic stress disorder including intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. As with most conditions, the severity of your post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms differs from person to person. For some post-traumatic stress disorder may only last a few weeks or a few months, for others this disorder may be a lifelong condition requiring intensive treatment. The typical treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder includes medication management through a psychiatrist and different types of therapies including individual and group therapy. Post-traumatic stress disorder is quite common, affecting about 6% of the population. While the condition itself is common, suffering from severe debilitating symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder is not quite so common. For most, treatment with medications and therapy will help to manage the symptoms enabling the individual to continue their daily life activities. But for others, this condition can be quite disabling. For severe conditions, there may be benefits available for the individual through the social security administration.

In general, if you are unable to work, including both work you have done in the past and any other type of work, you will likely be found to meet the definition of disability through the social security administration. The social security administration requires an individual to suffer from a severe medically determinable impairment that prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity for a minimum of twelve months, or an expected twelve months, or the condition is expected to result in death. There are two important points to consider for the social security disability program. First, your condition must be expected to last for twelve months. This benefit is not for short-term disabilities. Anything less than twelve months will simply not qualify you for benefits. The second important point is that you are unable to perform any type of work in the national economy, whether you have done that work in the past or not. Those two requirements make receiving disability benefits through the social security administration quite difficult. One thing to note is that even if you are receiving disability benefits from another agency such as the veterans’ administration or private disability, social security is not required to take that information into consideration. This is because, as mentioned in the beginning, each program has different criteria for determining disability.

To apply for social security disability benefits it is recommended to seek advice and guidance from an experienced disability attorney. At the LaBovick Law Group, we provide a free initial consultation. We will discuss with you your situation and the likelihood of receiving these benefits. Call us today at (561) 625-8400 for a free evaluation. If we recommend that you apply for the social security disability program, any fee we receive is based solely upon us obtaining your benefits. There are no upfront costs for you.

It is important to hire an experienced disability attorney from the very beginning as the process is quite complex with a significant amount of information needing to be provided to the social security administration. There are a number of forms and questionnaires that will need to be completed, as well as medical records and evidence to be collected. It is important to know the right information to provide from the very beginning so as to set up your claim properly from the start. Other than having experienced legal representation on your side, the next most important aspect of a claim for disability benefits is to have medical treatment documenting your medical conditions, symptoms, and limitations related to those conditions. Your adherence to the medical recommendations of your medical provider will also be an important aspect of your claim. The best medical evidence will show a minimum of twelve months of intensive psychiatric treatment to help manage your symptoms. In spite of intensive treatment, you continue to struggle with severe symptoms related to post-traumatic stress disorder that prevents you from performing work in any capacity. If you are in this situation, you should apply for benefits through the social security administration.