After a traumatic event, the repercussions can take a toll on your personal life and your career. If this event has a long-term impact on your mental health, the resulting post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can make it difficult to work. Is it possible to receive disability benefits for PTSD?

What is PTSD?

PTSD occurs for some people after they experience or witness a traumatic event. Their mental health suffers in many ways, including:

  • Re-experiencing the event through flashbacks, dreams or intrusive thoughts
  • Avoiding reminders of the traumatic event
  • Changes to mood, including emotional numbness, hopelessness or loss of interest in activities
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships
  • Increased reactivity, including startle responses or irritability

These symptoms can become more intense depending on a patient’s stress levels or experiences.

When does PTSD qualify for disability benefits?

In order to qualify for disability benefits, a patient’s PTSD must result in a limitation of their ability to process information, interact with other people, maintain their concentration or take care of themselves. Alternatively, PTSD sufferers can show that their PTSD is a “serious and persistent” condition, requiring significant support and resulting in difficulties adapting to changes in your daily life for at least two years.

Documenting symptoms can be key for PTSD sufferers.

Keeping a detailed record of PTSD symptoms and treatment is often the best way to show the Social Security Administration that this condition impairs a patient’s ability to work. Thorough documentation can include:

  • Records of treatments, including notes from therapy sessions
  • A statement from the physician treating your PTSD
  • Written statements from family, friends and coworkers about the impact that PTSD has on your ability to work

In addition, you may want to speak to an experienced attorney about your application. They can help you collect documentation that will give your application for disability benefits the best chance for success.