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Can I Get Social Security Disability for PTSD?

According to Mayo Clinic, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition triggered by either experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event.  Symptoms often include graphic flashbacks, nightmares, uncontrollable thoughts about the experience, and severe anxiety.

Many individuals who experience traumatic events experience short-term anxiety and related issues.  PTSD, however, is a clinical diagnosis that encompasses much longer-term and more severe effects on an individual than an event that may result in short-term anxiety.  PTSD is also usually debilitating, meaning that the symptoms impact a person’s ability to engage in everyday life activities, such as the ability to work, engage in meaningful relationships, sleep, and routine matters such as going to the store.

PTSD Qualifies for SSDI Benefits

Fortunately, PTSD is a recognized disability under the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSD) program.  Thus individuals who have been diagnosed with PTSD and are unable to work qualify for social security income benefits, so long as their condition can be properly documented.

However, being awarded benefits by the Social Security Administration (SSA) is far from automatic, even if a person medically qualifies for benefits.

Statistically, about 70% of those who apply for benefits without the assistance of an attorney are denied benefits in the initial application.  Often, the denial is based upon technical matters and matters such as not submitting the proper documentation needed to obtain a favorable ruling and award.  Unfortunately, even in small technical matters, mistakes cannot not be easily fixed by making corrections.

Instead, a claim will be denied, which will then lead to the appeals process and months of additional delay.  Conversely, applicants represented by an experienced SSD attorney are over 300% more likely to obtain approval (assuming that the applicant medically qualifies for benefits).

If you are interested in pursuing SSD benefits for PTSD, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation with experienced social security disability lawyer Mark Hurt.  We also encourage you to read through the following article to learn about the Social Security Administration’s eligibility requirements for PTSD.

Does it Matter How My PTSD Was Developed to Get SSD Benefits?

No.  PTSD can occur as a result of a wide range of traumatic events, including military service, being the victim of a crime, or experiencing other life-changing events.  The SSA focuses on the disabling results from a traumatic event, rather than trying to define the list qualifying events.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Experienced SSD Lawyer for PTSD?

You will only pay a fee if we are successful in securing SSD benefits.  At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we collect a percentage of the “backpay” amount (usually 25%) upon the approval of a claim.  We do not receive a fee for future disability payments (those payments made after the initial award payment) or if benefits cannot be secured.

As a result, the earlier we are retained, the lower our fee will be (as the “backpay” amount will be lower in the earlier stages of a claim).

What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?

According to the SSA, symptoms and signs of PTSD may include (but are not limited to):

  • Distressing Memories & Dreams
  • Flashbacks (related to a traumatic event)
  • Avoidant Behavior
  • Diminished Interest or Participation in Significant Activities
  • Persistent Negative Emotional States
  • Persistent Inability to Experience Positive Emotions
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Aggression
  • Exaggerated Startle Response
  • Difficulty Concentration
  • Sleep Disturbance

If you or a loved one has been experiencing symptoms of PTSD, it is critical to seek medical treatment to establish that you have a medically determinable mental disorder.

Is PTSD a Recognized Disability in the Social Security Disability Insurance Program “Blue Book”?

Yes. The SSA maintains a “Blue Book” of qualifying physical and mental impairments that automatically qualify as disabilities.  The “Blue Book” list of qualifying medical conditions includes a wide range of matters, ranging from paraplegia and quadriplegia to cancer to matters that are not as readily apparent (including PTSD).

To satisfy the requirements for PTSD, a disability claimant must provide objective medical documentation of all of the following:

  • Exposure to Death or Threatened Death, Serious Injury, or Violence;
  • Subsequent uncontrollable re-experiencing of the event;
  • Avoidance of external cues related to the traumatic event;
  • Disturbance in mood or behavior; and
  • Increases in arousal and reactivity.

To satisfy the criteria, an individual must have either one extreme limitation or two marked limitations that interfere with the ability to:

  • remember, understand and apply information;
  • interact with others;
  • concentrate, persist, or maintain pace; and/or
  • adapt or manage oneself.

Documentation is always vital for a successful SSD claim; therefore, it is critical to gather all medical evidence of a PTSD condition from physicians, psychologists, mental health counselors, and other healthcare professionals.  At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, our dedicated SSD team can help compile, complete, and submit accurate evidence in a timely manner to help accelerate the processing of a claim, and to provide clients with the best chance possible of seeking a favorable determination from the initial filing.

Can I Still Qualify for Disability Benefits If I Do Not Meet the Blue Book Functional Criteria for PTSD?

If an applicant does not satisfy the criteria mentioned above, it is still possible to qualify for SSD if their PTSD is severe and persistent.  To prove a condition is serious and has been persistent, the SSA typically requires:

  • Medical documentation showing the existence of PTSD for at least two years
  • Evidence of ongoing medical treatment
  • Evidence showing a limited ability to adapt to new changes or demands

The SSA accepts both medical and non-medical evidence when evaluating the severity of a limitation, including statements from family, friends, neighbors, or mental health specialists.

Can You Help if My Initial PTSD Claim for SSD Benefits Was Denied?

Yes.  In addition to assisting with the initial SSD application, we also are available to represent clients in appeals if their claim for benefits based upon PTSD was rejected.  As a result, if your claim was rejected, we invite you to contact us so that we can discuss pursuing an appeal on your behalf.

Schedule A Free Consultation with An Experienced Virginia SSD Benefits Lawyer.

At The Law Offices of Mark T. Hurt, we understand how challenging and limiting it is to live with PTSD.  As a Virginia SSD lawyer, attorney Mark Hurt fights tenaciously in seeking to secure disability benefits for those suffering from this debilitating condition.

If you or a loved one is suffering from PTSD, we invite you to call our office to schedule a free consultation to learn how we can assist in preparing an initial application or appealing a denial.

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This law firm is excellent to work with and I highly recommend them. Jessica was great to work with for me filing a disability claim through the Social Security Administration. She answered all my questions and concerns quickly and efficiently.
Charlie Moore
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