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How PTSD Can Impact Your Disability Benefits

As more and more research goes into mental health and the effects of trauma on the human mind, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has become commonly accepted as a mental disorder. In many cases, PTSD can be debilitating as it require extensive treatment. Meanwhile, PTSD may prevent you from working. Treatment and not working can cause problems for your personal and financial life.

In order to remedy this, Social Security disability benefits are available to many people who suffer from PTSD. These benefits come to people as long as they meet several criteria set by the Social Security Administration.

How PTSD Can Impact Your Disability Benefits

PTSD Facts

PTSD results from trauma or stressful events that leave an impact on a person’s psyche. This leads to symptoms such as paranoia, mood or personality changes, flashbacks, problems sleeping and even psychosis. PTSD is most commonly known as an affliction that war veterans face after they come back from combat, but it also occurs in assault survivors, victims of abuse and even people who survive heart attacks. For many, struggling with PTSD can make it impossible to go about their everyday lives, including going to work, and the medical expenses that arise from PTSD (including intense therapy) can be incredibly costly.

Receiving Benefits

If you’re seeking disability payouts as a result of your PTSD, there are two ways to receive benefits from the SSA by meeting the requirements for anxiety-related disorders or receiving a “medical-vocational allowance.”

For the first, provide documentation to show how your disorder fits the guidelines set by the SSA. Criteria include flashbacks and nightmares that cause extreme distress that lead you to live with severe anxiety. You may also have panic attacks or phobias as a result of your PTSD, which would also qualify you for benefits under the SSA definition. The distress that you feel must severely impact your daily life, according to the SSA.

The “medical-vocational allowance,” which is the main pathway through which individuals afflicted with PTSD receive benefits, occurs when the symptoms you experience from PTSD interfere with your work life. This happens if you don’t meet the criteria for anxiety-related disorders as listed above. For example, nightmares from PTSD prevent you from sleeping and thus lead to fatigue at work. These nightmares, in turn, prevent you from doing your job fully, if at all. Under these circumstances, you could qualify to receive this allowance.

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