SSDI for PTSD, All You Need to Know
You Can Receive SSDI for PTSD, Here’s How.
You can apply for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits if:
- You paid Social Security taxes through your job
- Your condition is defined as a disability by the Social Security Administration (SSA
Usually, workers who cannot return to their jobs for more than a year can receive monthly benefit payments. If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) due to a traumatic incident unrelated to work that hinders you from sustaining employment, you can seek benefits. Your payment amount will be based on the duration of your employment and the average wages you earned before diagnosis.
The process of applying for SSDI can be stress-inducing in itself, so allow us to help you. To find out if you are entitled to benefits for PTSD or any disability, contact Jorgensen Law at 1-888-855-2948 today for a free consultation.
Is PTSD a Disability?
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), post-traumatic stress disorder is considered a disability and falls under the trauma and stressor-related disorders category in section 12.15.
The SSA defines PTSD as “experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event” and the psychological aftermath. PTSD can also be developed after learning of a traumatic incident that happened to a close family member or friend.
How Do I Get SSDI for PTSD?
There are two ways of getting approved for disability benefits related to PTSD:
- Pass the disability evaluation of the Social Security Administration (SSA)
- Obtain Medical Vocational Allowance
5 Step Disability Evaluation of the SSA
1. Are you Working?
The SSA will first look at your work activity, and if you exceed the Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) limit, you cannot qualify for disability. The SGA limit 2023 is $1,470 per month, or $2,460 for those who are blind.
2. Is your Medical Condition “Severe”?
To qualify for social security disability insurance, the SSA aims to prove your condition significantly limits your ability to perform work-related activities such as; lifting, walking, standing, following instructions, working with others, making simple decisions, and remembering.
To be considered disabled or “severe,” you must have a medically determinable physical or mental impairment (or combination of both) that has lasted or will last for a year or end in death. If your symptoms are less severe, you may still be awarded a medical allowance if prevented from working at your former vocational position or another position that would pay you a substantial income.
3. Does your medical condition meet or equal the severity of a Listing?
The SSA lists medical criteria that, if your physical or mental condition matches them, are considered severe enough to classify you as disabled. You can find the Adult Listing for PTSD here.
If your condition doesn’t meet the specific criteria or the duration requirement, the SSA determines your Residual Functional Capacity (RFC). Simply put, the RFC assesses what you can do despite your impairments.
To evaluate your RFC, the SSA conducts a detailed assessment of your maximum ability to perform sustained work-related physical and mental activities regularly (8 hours a day, five days a week). This assessment considers any limitations or restrictions caused by your medically identifiable impairment.
4. Can you do any jobs you have performed in the past fifteen (15) years?
The SSA will review the last 15 years of your past relevant work (PRW) history. To be PRW, the work had to be a substantial gainful activity (SGA) within the last 15 years and kept long enough to learn the job. If the SSA decides you can still perform any PRW, you will not qualify for SSDI.
For this step, it is crucial to prepare evidence of your disability through medical records and doctoral opinions as a “burden of proof.” Objective medical evidence will be your most substantial evidence (anything that doesn’t rely on what you tell your doctors).
Example PTSD objective medical evidence to support your claim (in the form of medical documentation)
- Exposure to threatened or actual death, violence, or severe injury
- Re-experiencing the traumatic event
- Avoiding reminders of the event
- Mood or behavior changes
- Arousal and reactivity increase
- Records detailing a PTSD episode (duration, frequency, symptoms, etc.)
If you need to gather medical documentation, Psychiatrists and psychologists are specialized in treating PTSD. Clinical social workers, therapists, and counselors also can provide helpful therapy.
5. Can you do any other type of work?
If you cannot perform past relevant work (PRW), the SSA will check to see if you can do other work. The SSA will look at your age, medical conditions, education, past work experience, and other work skills you have that could be used. If you cannot do other work, you will be determined disabled.
At Jorgensen Law, our Social Security Disability Lawyers are very familiar with the entire process and the particular rules that may apply based on your age. Let us alleviate your stress, and contact Jorgensen Law at 1-888-855-2948 today for a free consultation. We are ready and willing to help you and your family.
If you are not determined disabled by the SSA after the 5-step process, you may qualify for a medical-vocational allowance. A mental consultant will determine if your symptoms are severe enough to prevent you from working. If you have other psychological or physical problems combined with PTSD, you are more likely to succeed in this application.
Symptoms of PTSD
Symptoms of PTSD usually appear within three months of the trauma, but sometimes there’s a delayed reaction. Some individuals have no symptoms for years until stress or something in their daily life triggers the memory. Symptoms include:
- Auditory or visual hallucinations
- Distressing memories
- Avoidant behavior
- Diminished participation in significant activities
- Aggressive or self-destructive behavior
- Difficulty sleeping
- Overwhelming feelings of fear, shame, or guilt
- Consistent emotional numbness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Memory problems
It’s best to start PTSD treatment directly after symptoms appear. Treatment may include medication (antipsychotics, anti-anxiety drugs, and antidepressants) or psychotherapy and counseling. Some people have found good results with an alternative therapy involving eye movement desensitization and reprocessing.
Our experienced attorneys work with your medical professionals to collect the proper documentation and present your claim to the Disability Determination Services Division (DDSD) of California. We’ll help you gain the best possible chance of winning your post–traumatic stress disorder disability case. Contact Jorgensen Law today.