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3 Tips To Get Approval For Your PTSD Social Security Disability Benefits

Dolores Rice

Do you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder? You're not alone. Approximately 6 percent of the U.S. population will suffer from PTSD at some point in their lives. It can be a crippling condition but also one that is difficult to diagnose and treat. While PTSD may feel obvious and heavy to the person who is suffering, it can often be much less obvious to others.

For a long time, PTSD wasn't an approved condition for Social Security disability benefits. However, that changed in 2017. PTSD is now an eligible condition for Social Security benefits. That doesn't mean it's easy to get approved though. The process for approval can be complex and time-consuming. Below are a few tips to make your benefits claim successful:

Be specific.

Social Security has a very narrow definition of PTSD. To obtain benefits, it's important that your documentation fit Social Security's framework. Social Security requires that you have had exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or violence. In your claim, you should be specific about the exact event that created your PTSD and be sure that it demonstrates potential death, injury, or violence.

You'll also need to demonstrate how certain activities in life trigger feelings of PTSD and how it is necessary for you to avoid those triggers. Again, be as specific as possible. Provide relevant examples and show how your PTSD has limited your ability to function. 

Document your treatment.

If you have a documented history of seeking treatment for PTSD, you are much more likely to be approved for benefits. Social Security usually looks for a two-year history of treatment or counseling. Collect notes, documents, and records from your doctors and mental health providers. List any medication you have been prescribed. Document any therapy sessions you attended or other treatment you have sought.

Social Security likes to see that you have made good-faith efforts to overcome your PTSD and are only seeking benefits as a last resort. If you have never sought treatment or counseling, Social Security is likely to say that you should explore those options before applying for benefits.

Establish residual functional capacity.

Residual functional capacity, or RFC, is the limit of physical or mental work you can perform due to your condition. If Social Security determines that you do not have the capacity to perform most jobs available in the economy, you are more likely to be approved for benefits. You can start the process by having your healthcare provider document your impairments and inability to perform most jobs. Social Security will then review the RFC and deliver its opinion. An RFC can be very helpful in the process because it documents that not only do you have PTSD, but you are also limited in your ability to work.

Obtaining Social Security benefits for PTSD isn't easy, but it is possible. A Social Security attorney who has experience with PTSD can guide you through the process.

Contact a law office like Attorney John B. Martin Law Offices to learn more. 


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