Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Social Security Disability

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition experienced after witnessing or going through a traumatic event. This can include incidents such as an accident, natural disaster, murder, rape or a heart attack. The symptoms of the disease are recurrent flashbacks and nightmares about the incident, sometimes interrupting normal daily activities. Those with post-traumatic stress disorder are often excessively aware and startled, easily angered or irritated and overcome by a fear of the event re-occurring.

This disorder is much more intense than shock, depression or stress. The chemistry between the brain and the body is disrupted, causing damage to the part of the brain that is also affected with Alzheimer’s. Treatment usually involves counseling, psychotherapy, antidepressant or antipsychotic medication or cognitive-behavioral therapy. Sometimes eye movement desensitization and reprocessing is used to treat the effects of the disorder.

In order to receive Social Security disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder, you must do one of two things. First, you can meet the qualifications of the Social Security Administration’s listing for anxiety-related disorders. You must have medical records noting that you experience extreme anxiety or emotional disturbance due to recurring flashbacks, nightmares or memories related to a traumatic incident. Recalling things that make you merely uncomfortable does not meet the requirements. Daily life must be severely interrupted by the distress caused by the memories. Some symptoms of panic attacks, phobias, OCD and general anxiety can be accepted here also.

Second, you can receive a medical-vocational allowance, which is the most common way disability benefits are granted. To be eligible for this allowance, it is possible that you may not have reached the requirements of the anxiety listing as noted above. However, you must still be determined by a claims examiner to be unable to work due to the extremity of your condition.

In any case, you must have at least one detailed record of a mental episode caused by post-traumatic stress disorder in your medical records. What brings on symptoms, how long they last and how frequently they occur should be well-documented. Your doctor should note whether or note he agrees that how you describe your mental state matches his opinion of it and the guidelines of being diagnosed with the disorder. Most importantly of all, your medical records must have a clear explanation of how the disorder has affected your daily life and your ability to function in a work environment.

If you or a loved one has post-traumatic stress disorder and would like to pursue a claim for disability benefits, you will need an experienced attorney to assist you. Call disability lawyer Nick Ortiz at 850-308-7833 to discuss your case.