You’ve been having nightmares for weeks, and your family has been tiptoeing around you, hoping that you just needed a little time to get better. So while you weren’t entirely surprised when your doctor diagnosed you with post-traumatic stress disorder, you were surprised when the Social Security Administration denied your application for benefits. How are you supposed to get the help you need if Social Security won’t pay for your treatment?
Getting Social Security Approval Under a PTSD Medical Vocational Allowance
While post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) carries many of the same symptoms as shock, stress, and depression, it is a much more severe and unpredictable condition. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a specific listing for PTSD based on anxiety, so if applicants do not specifically meet this criteria, their claims may be denied.
However, PTSD manifests itself differently in each victim, and can place specific limitations on a applicant that makes it difficult for him or her to earn a living. The SSA has made an allowance for PTSD sufferers that qualify for benefits, known as a medical vocational allowance, which provides for individuals whose symptoms prevent them from working.
Individuals who qualify for a medical vocational allowance will often have trouble working due to:
- Concentration. In addition to causing interrupted sleep patterns, PTSD sufferers may suffer from daily fatigue and even health problems due to an inability to receive the proper rest. The loss of sleep may contribute to concentration and memory problems—any one of which can interfere with the ability to maintain a steady job.
- Triggers. A common symptom of PTSD is violent, uncontrollable flashbacks that can happen at any point in the day with a very small inciting incident, also called a trigger. Triggers can occur when a patient is talking to others, working in groups, or working quietly on his own, and may respond by becoming angry, irritable, easily startled, or even physically reacting to the stress by vomiting or sweating excessively.
- Treatment. Individuals can benefit from a wide range of treatments for PTSD, but some of these may further limit their abilities to perform regular work. Some applicants may need frequent counseling sessions, anti-depressant or anti-psychotic medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of several treatments before they can return to work.
If you think you may qualify for a medical vocational allowance, we can help you apply for PTSD benefits. Click the contact link on this page to tell us your story and have us explain your benefit options to you one-on-one.