What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?
People who have gone through an experience that is so traumatic that it causes permanent emotional distress suffer from a condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Depending on how severe symptoms of the disorder are, a person with PTSD may be able to qualify for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits.
PTSD is a mental illness that is triggered by a traumatic experience. Experiences that commonly trigger PTSD include spending time in a combat zone, experiencing a severe natural disaster or being physically or sexually abused.
Not everyone who has experienced a traumatic event will suffer from PTSD. Factors that contribute to the condition include the length of exposure to the traumatic experience, whether an individual was severely injured, whether a friend or family member was lost during the experience and how much an individual felt that they could control the situation. Receiving emotional support following a traumatic event can reduce the possibility of developing PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD include nightmares or flashbacks related to the traumatic experience, an avoidance of activities or items that would remind the sufferer of the experience and a constant feeling of being on edge. Fear that the event may reoccur is also felt by many sufferers of PTSD.
Treatment for the condition can include therapy and anti-depressant medications.
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Can People with PTSD Qualify for Social Security Disability?
PTSD is considered to be an anxiety disorder for the purposes of the Social Security Administration (SSA). There are two ways for an individual suffering from SSDI to qualify for social security disability insurance (SSDI) benefits.
SSA Listing Qualification
A person can achieve SSA listing qualification for PTSD by proving that they suffer from regular flashbacks, nightmares or other periods of extreme anxiety that severely limit their ability to lead a normal life. While some people with mild PTSD feel uncomfortable or upset at times, those who qualify for SSDI benefits must experience extreme emotional distress.
Symptoms of PTSD must negatively affect a person’s ability to maintain a professional or social life, and people with PTSD who qualify for SSDI benefits may experience panic attacks or general anxiety.
This qualification method is the alternative to be used if a person does not qualify in accordance with the medical requirements listed above. A person suffering with PTSD will be evaluated to determine if they are unable to work due to an inability to concentrate, severe memory impairment, difficulties with social interactions or an inability to adapt to situations.
Medical-vocational allowance can qualify an individual for SSDI benefits due to PTSD if the cognitive abilities of a person are severely limited by symptoms of PTSD. Stress and pressure that is commonly associated with performing job tasks is taken into consideration when a person is being evaluated, and the fact that these emotional stresses could trigger episodes related to PTSD will be noted.
An inability to reasonably function in normal work conditions is the most common way for a person suffering from PTSD to qualify for SSDI benefits.