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Does SSA Qualify PTSD as a Disability?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) understands that symptoms from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) can cause difficulties in day-to-day life, such as recurring flashbacks and nightmares, angry outbursts, fear of the traumatic event reoccurring, hypervigilance and being easily startled. To see if an individual is eligible for disability benefits due to PTSD or PTSI, a mental status examination is conducted by a psychologist or psychiatrist which includes answering questions about one’s history, current mood and thought process.

If they are approved through a medical or vocational allowance the SSA has determined that their particular limitations make them unable to work in any capacity. This may be determined without going through the listing of disorders which outlines impairments severe enough to qualify for disability without having to consider job capabilities.

How Do I Get Approved for Benefits with PTSD?

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is evaluated by the Social Security Administration (SSA) under the “trauma- and stressor-related disorders” listing, 12.15. To be found medically disabled due to PTSD, medical records must contain evidence of exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or violence; involuntary re-experiencing of a traumatic event; avoidance of external reminders of the event; disturbance in mood and behavior; and increase in arousal and reactivity.

Additionally, there must be an “extreme” limitation in one area or a “marked” limitation in two areas such as understanding, remembering/using information, interacting with others, concentrating on tasks, adapting/managing oneself. The SSA will also consider any treatments received for other mental impairments in combination with PTSD when assessing criteria for disability. Those who do not meet the medical listing can still qualify if they show that their limitations prevent them from working even with support from a system such as social workers, family members or group homes.

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In 2023, you could be eligible for up to $3,627/month in SSDI benefits.

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June 13, 2023

Written by Leah Meyer