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Social Security Disability Definitions

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Disability Denials and Filing Appeals

Social Security Mental Disability Benefits

Disability Benefits offered through Social Security

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Disability Benefits for Children

Disability Qualifications and How to Qualify

Social Security Disability and Working

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Social Security Back Pay and the disability award notice

Disability Lawyers and Hiring an Attorney

Social Security Disability SSI List of Conditions

What is considered a Disabling condition by Social Security?

Social Security Disability SSI and Medical Evidence

Filing for Disability Benefits

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Facts about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Filing for Disability

How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits

1. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, commonly referred to as PTSD, is an anxiety disorder. This type of anxiety disorder originates from experiencing a very traumatic event. Instead of recovering emotionally and physically from a traumatic event, those with PTSD find that their symptoms of fear and anxiety get worse with time, disrupt their lives, and cause further complications.

2. PTSD can lead to other mental health issues, including depression, suicidal thoughts, alcohol and drug abuse, and eating disorders.

3. Studies on war veterans have shown a link between PTSD and other medical problems, such as chronic pain, autoimmune diseases, and cardiovascular disease.

4. It is estimated that nearly 8 percent of the world’s population will experience some form of PTSD in their lives. Women are four times more likely to experience PTSD than men.

5. Symptoms of PTSD can vary from person to person. The most common symptoms are flashbacks of the traumatic event, nightmares about the traumatic event, being emotionally unfeeling, memory issues, anger, guilt, shame, avoiding talking about the traumatic event, avoiding situations that might make you think about the traumatic event, hopelessness, lack of concentration and focus, hallucinating, difficulty maintaining intimate relationships, and memory problems.

6. Doctors do not know why some people recover from traumatic events with relative ease, and others go on to develop anxiety disorders and PTSD. They believe it is a combination of the patient’s temperament, genetic leanings toward depression and anxiety, how a person’s brain chemicals react to stress, and the amount of trauma one has endured during their lifetimes, and especially during their childhood.

6. Many war veterans develop PTSD. It is also sometimes referred to as ‘combat stress’ or ‘shell shock’, because of this.

7. Men are most likely to develop PTSD due to a physically and/or emotionally traumatic childhood, serving in a war, or rape.

8. Women are most likely to develop PTSD due to a childhood abuse (physical abuse, emotional abuse, or sexual molestation), rape, physical attack, or being threatened by a weapon.

9. Those with PTSD may live normal lives if treated correctly. The best treatment plans include various forms of psychotherapy in combination with medications, such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.

Return to:  Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions

Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews