Seeking disability benefits as a veteran with PTSD

On Behalf of | Jun 26, 2023 | Social Security Disability

The brave men and women who serve our country in the armed forces are oftentimes left with a lot to deal with once they enter civilian life. This is especially true for those who were deployed overseas and saw combat. For these men and women, acclimating to civilian life can be difficult enough. But life can be even more challenging when they’re struggling to deal with severe medical conditions that resulted from their service.

The basics of PTSD

Among those conditions is post-traumatic stress disorder, often referred to as PTSD. This mental health condition develops after an individual witnesses or experiences a traumatic event. Those who suffer from PTSD are often triggered to have flashbacks and other symptoms including irritability, agitation, destructive behavior, nightmares, and guilt, just to name a few. Most PTSD sufferers also go to great lengths to avoid thinking and talking about the traumatic event, as well as avoiding places and people who remind them of their trauma.

The severity of PTSD symptoms can be severe. A lot of people who suffer from PTSD struggle to find normalcy, and some even develop self-harming behaviors. If you’re in that situation, then you should immediately seek out medical assistance and call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

But even if you’re PTSD symptoms aren’t that severe, they might still be significant enough to disrupt your daily life. In addition to struggling with day-to-day duties in your personal life, your PTSD diagnosis might make it impossible to secure and hold a job. This, in turn, can cause significant financial instability at a time when you need medical care.

What can you do?

Fortunately, those who suffer from PTSD can seek Social Security Disability benefits. If you’re successful on your claim, then you can recover the benefits that you need to stabilize your finances while you seek treatment. Before you can recover these benefits, though, you’ll have to prove that you qualify, which includes providing or documenting the following:

  • Medical records that show a number of characteristics, including exposure to a traumatic event, re-experiencing that event, avoidance of triggers, mood and behavior disturbance, and increased reactivity.
  • Extensive limitations in several areas of your life, which may include your ability to remember and understand information, interact with others, and take care of yourself.
  • Ongoing medical treatment that seems to lessen the severity of your symptoms.
  • A limited ability to adequately adapt to changes in your environment.

Exactly what you need to show will depend, in part, on the unique facts of your case. That’s why it’ll be beneficial for you to better understand the government’s requirements for a disability showing and how that applies to your set of facts.

Don’t let PTSD control your life

The trauma that you’ve been exposed to will be with you for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for that. That said, you don’t have to let your condition completely upend your life. You might be able to regain control over certain aspects of your daily living, and pursuing disability benefits is just one avenue available to you.

But if you decide to pursue disability benefits, then you need to be prepared. You should gather your medical records, follow your doctor’s recommendations, and keep a journal of how your medical condition has negatively impacted your life. Hopefully then you’ll be well situated to present the strong legal arguments necessary to secure the benefits that you need.


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