PTSD evidence for vocational allowanceYou were having nightmares for weeks, and your family had 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 due to anxiety-related disorders. How are you supposed to get the help you need if Social Security if you can’t work and you have been denied disability benefits? The answer could be that you may actually qualify for a PTSD medical vocational allowance.

How to Qualify for a Disability Due to PTSD

To determine if you are medically eligible for disability benefits, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has a set of procedures in place. These procedures are published in a handbook known as the “Blue Book,” and it includes a list of various disabling conditions known as “listings.” PTSD can be considered a disability by the SSA if the criteria for Listings 12.15 Trauma- and stressor-related disorders are met by the applicant. Within the sections of the Blue Book listing, applicants need to match sections A and B, or sections A and C in the listing for Trauma- and stressor-related disorders.

Getting Social Security Approval Under a PTSD Medical Vocational Allowance

However, very few disability applicants meet the strict requirements of the Blue Book listings. If your condition does not match up to the listing requirements, you may still be found eligible for disability benefits under a “medical vocational allowance”. To be eligible for a medical vocational allowance you must demonstrate that the symptoms of your PTSD prevent you from sustaining full-time competitive employment on a consistent and reliable basis and that you unable to perform any job in the national economy, considering your age, education, and past work.  All qualifying disabilities must be expected to last and keep you out of work for at least 12 months.

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.

To prove that PTSD prevents you from maintaining fulltime employment, it is very important to ask your doctor to explain your medical situation, oftentimes using a form called the “Residual Functional Capacity” (RFC) form. The RFC form measures your physical abilities, and it allows your doctor to explain how your medical conditions limit you from working. The Social Security Administration will consider the RFC form along with other medical evidence to decide whether you qualify for Social Security disability benefits.

Contact Our SSDI Lawyers in Omaha and Lincoln, NE, Today!

If you think you may qualify for a medical vocational allowance, our SSDI lawyers in Omaha and Lincoln, NE, can help you apply for PTSD benefits. For a free evaluation of your specific situation call Cuddigan Law at (402) 933-5405 or send us an email. At Cuddigan Law you have a team of professionals in your corner who know the system and will fight for your rights.


Sean D. Cuddigan
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SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska
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