What is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, also known as PTSD, is considered an anxiety disorder which can be caused by horrifying events. Claimants suffering from PTSD can have anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares or flashbacks following a traumatic event. PTSD is common in war veterans who may experience symptoms weeks, months or years after their tour of duty.
The Symptoms of PTSD
The symptoms of PTSD can range from the mild to severe and can include difficulty remembering and concentrating, avoidance of personal relationships, emotional unavailability, hopelessness, inactivity, alcoholism, difficulty sleeping, high levels of anger, and feelings of guilt.
Can I get Social Security Disability for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
Obviously, for many disability claimants, PTSD can be a severe condition which makes it difficult for them to function in their daily lives, much less work every day. So how do you prove to the Social Security Administration that you cannot work, your mental health condition is severe and you should receive disability?
The Social Security Administration has two methods they use to determine if a claimant is disabled: meeting a listing in the Social Security Administration's Listing of Impairments or winning benefits through the medical vocational process. This blog will specifically address how claimants can meeting a listing.
Meeting a Listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If a claimant has listed PTSD on their disability application the SSA will first determine if they meet the nonmedical requirements of either Supplemental Security Income or Social Security Disability Insurance. If they meet the nonmedical requirements the SSA will then review whether or not the claimant is working too much and whether their condition is expected to last for at least 12 continuous months.
Next, the Social Security Administration will review if the claimant's condition is as severe as the listing in the SSA Listing of Impairments (a listing of all conditions considered automatically disabling by the SSA).
Post traumatic stress disorder is on the SSA Listing of Impairments under 12.00 Mental Disorders, Section 12.06 Anxiety Related Disorders. The SSA will expect the claimant to have documentation of the anxiety reaction, including at least one detailed description of the reaction. The Social Security Administration also notes that, "the description should include the nature, frequency, and duration of any panic attacks or other reactions, the precipitating and exacerbating factors, and the functional effects."
To meet the listing the claimant must have medically documented findings that they have at least 3 of the 4 signs or symptoms: motor tension, autonomic hyperactivity, apprehensive expectation, vigilance and scanning, irrational fear of an object or situation which causes them to avoid it or recurring panic attacks which cause terror, fear or impending doom. The attacks should occur at least one time per week.
In conjunction with the symptoms identified above, the claimant must also have at least 2 of the following:
- Marked restriction of activities of daily living; or
- Marked difficulties in maintaining social functioning; or
- Marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or pace; or
- Repeated episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.
Claimants may also qualify if they meet the symptoms outlined above and have the complete inability to function outside of their home independently.
What if my PTSD does not "meet or exceed" the SSA Listing of Impairments?
Claimants may win benefits without meeting the listing for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but claimants must prove, through their recent medical evidence, that their condition is so severe they cannot work. Contact a disability lawyer for more information
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