For a long time, people felt that they couldn’t get Social Security Disability benefits if they had a mental health disorder. It was partially true, because claims were complex.
Today, it is much easier to get Social Security Disability benefits with a mental health illness, so long as you can prove that it is a disabling condition. Among those conditions that the Social Security Administration will approve in some circumstances is post-traumatic stress disorder.
How do you get Social Security Disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder?
You can get Social Security Disability benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder if the illness is severe enough to prevent you from working or earning a substantial amount of income.
In the Social Security Administration’s listing of qualifying disorders and disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder is covered by listings 12.15 and 112.5, which is under Trauma- and stressor-related disorders.
To prove that you’re disabled by post-traumatic stress disorder, you would need to show that you were exposed to the threat of violence, serious injury or death, have avoidance in response to external triggers, have disturbances in your mood and behavior, and have involuntary re-experiencing of that event. You also have to show that you have extreme limitations in your memory, ability to care for yourself, ability to concentrate or ability to interact with others. Alternatively, you can show that your illness is serious and persistent.
If you want to show it is persistent, then you should include evidence of all your medical treatments, including your mental health therapies, psychosocial supports, ongoing symptoms and the amount you have recovered since starting those treatments. Showing marginal adjustment (a limited capacity to adapt) will help improve your ability to receive Social Security Disability benefits.
Is it important to work with an attorney when applying for Social Security Disability?
Working with an attorney is a great way to get a good start on your application. They are familiar with the Social Security Administration’s requirements and the kinds of documentation that you will need if you want to make the most out of your claim and get approved right away. Additionally, if the claim is not approved initially, they can help you appeal that decision based on the SSA’s reason for denial.