You knew it, your friends knew it, and your doctor has confirmed it: you are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Your episodes and anxiety is interfering with your work and home life, and you’re ready to take the time off you need to deal with the emotional strain—but how can you support your family if you cannot work while you recover?

You Will Need Medical Proof of PTSD to Get Social Security Disability

The Social Security Administration (SSA) has a special disability listing for victims who are suffering from PTSD. In order to get benefits to cover your medical bills and loss of income while you undergo therapy, you must provide SSA with proof that your condition is disabling.

Here are three things veterans must do to qualify for Social Security disability benefits:

  • Meet the SSA’s listing for PTSD. The disability listing requires that victims are suffer from severe anxiety to qualify for benefits. This may manifest in nightmares, insomnia, disruptive flashbacks, or sudden onset of memories that cause you emotional distress. You must also show that your anxiety directly limits your daily living activities, concentration, and ability to interact with others. You may also qualify if your anxiety causes panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive behavior, or irrational phobias (such as an inability to leave the house).
  • Gather medical proof of PTSD. Your medical records are the biggest factor in whether or not your disability claim will be approved. You should provide as much information on your condition as possible, including a detailed description of how your condition affects your daily life. You should describe what limits your condition places on you—cannot ride buses with strangers, panic attacks triggered by loud noises, etc. You should also describe the onset of a recent episode of PTSD, including the frequency and duration of your response. Your records should also include a doctor’s prognosis of your condition, his description of your symptoms, and his professional opinion of your mental state.
  • Take control of your case. Many disability claims are denied the first time simply because the applicant’s hospital or treating physician failed to send medical documents to SSA. You should collect copies of your medical records from the VA medical center—and all other treatment sources—and make a copy of each document you send to SSA to keep in your personal files. This will help you file an appeal more quickly if your case is initially denied.

Need more help filing your disability claim? Order our free guide, 5 Deadly Mistakes That Can Destroy Your Social Security Disability Case, or click the contact link on this page to have us explain your benefits options to you one-on-one.


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