Applying for Social Security Disability with PTSD!!!


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be quite severe, resulting in pronounced symptoms and episodes of flashbacks or cognitive regression that may prevent you from maintaining gainful employment. If your PTSD is expected to keep you out of work for a year or longer, Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits are an option.

There are two programs with the Social Security Administration for which you may qualify with PTSD: Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). In addition to meeting the medical eligibility requirements for SSD in general, you must also satisfy the technical requirements to receive benefits under either of these programs.

• For SSDI, you must have sufficient work credits built up over the course of your employment from the ten years prior to becoming disabled.
• For SSI, you must show significant financial need, with limited income and financial resources.
While there is no dedicated listing for this condition with the Social Security Administration (SSA), you can still receive benefits by meeting the SSA’s listing for anxiety-related disorders or by proving your that your functional capacity is so limited by your condition that you are unable to get and keep a job through which you can earn a substantial living.

Meeting the SSA’s Anxiety-Related Disorder Listing

PTSD SSD applications are evaluated by Disability Determination Services (DDS) claims examiners under the listing in the SSA’s Blue Book for Anxiety-Related Disorders. To meet this listing, your PTSD must either cause:

• pronounced, consistently present anxiety symptoms


• Severe anxiety symptoms when attempting to master or overcome the limitations your PTSD otherwise places on you.

Medical records necessary to prove your disability

To document that your PTSD is so severely limiting that it keeps you from working, your medical records must show at least one of the following to be true:

• You suffer from persistent anxiety symptoms that result in three or more of the following:
o Tension in motor muscle movement
o Hyperactivity in the autonomic nervous system
o Pronounced apprehension, or a consistent state of “being on guard”
o Hyper vigilance
• Irrational and ongoing fears associated with activities, situations, objects, or other circumstances, including pronounced avoidance reactions
• Ongoing and severe panic attacks, occurring at least once a week
• Ongoing obsessive or compulsive urges and behaviors that cause pronounced distress
• Intrusive and ongoing memories or flashbacks to the traumatic experience that caused your PTSD.
Qualifying for SSD under a Medical Vocational Allowance

Even if your PTSD does not meet the Anxiety Disorders listing, you may still be able to qualify for SSD benefits, provided your functional capacity is so severely affected by your condition that it prevents you from maintaining gainful employment.

After reviewing your claim under the listing, the SSA will then conduct an analysis to see if you qualify for SSD benefits under what is known as a medical vocational allowance (MVA). You and your treating physician will both be required to complete a functional analysis report form detailing the ways in which your PTSD affects your “activities of daily living” and your ability to complete normal job functions.

PTSD can cause severe limitations both mentally and physically. The symptoms from which you suffer and the frequency and duration of your episodes of decompensation, panic attacks, and flashbacks will all play a role in determining if your functional capacity is affected by your PTSD that to the point that it prevents you from getting and keeping a job.

SSD Application Process

There are multiple ways of applying for SSD benefits too. You can:

• Complete and submit your application on the SSA’s website (
• Set an appointment with an SSA representative to complete your application via a telephone interview, under some circumstances,
• Make an appointment to complete your application in person with the help of an SSA representative at your local SSA office,
• Or, complete hardcopy application forms obtained from the SSA’s website or from your local SSA office.
Don’t be discouraged if your application for disability is denied. Almost 60% of applications for disability are initially denied. Most of the denied applications are eventually approved during the disability hearing stage of the appeals process. If your application is denied, you should strongly consider hiring a disability attorney or advocate to help you with your claim.

Article by Ram Meyyappan

26 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by jennifertemp on May 7, 2013 at 4:18 pm

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  19. […] Applying for Social Security Disability … – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be quite severe, resulting in pronounced symptoms and episodes of flashbacks or cognitive regression that may … […]

  20. […] Applying for Social Security Disability with … – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can be quite severe, resulting in pronounced symptoms and episodes of flashbacks or cognitive regression that may … […]

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  22. Posted by Tracy Bolack on November 3, 2016 at 5:22 am

    I am having anxiety attacks and dont warm up to people easy i get so mad i have to go to the hospital things are just falling apart tryed to get help no one can see me for months. Scares the shit out of me

  23. You can start healing on your own until you find professional help.

    An anxiety attack is your adrenal stress response ( fight or flight mechanism) firing. It is our defense mechanism firing, preparing us for a lethal threat. With disorders like PTSD and other anxiety disorders it is firing without a lethal threat present.

    The drugs secreted cortisol and adrenaline are real. The actual threat perceived is not. Understanding this mechanism will help you know that real danger is absent.

    The best way for you to build some resilience and space is to start a mindfulness practice. Learn to train the mind to focus and let go of those thoughts and emotions that accompany the anxiety attacks.

    You practice when things are calm and build your focus so you can withstand the craziness when anxiety explodes.

    It takes daily practice and application to benefit.

    You can heal and be better than before. It takes work, courage and dedication.

  24. Posted by Kathryn on November 15, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Do you have any idea of why this website is just now up? Put a plate in my forehead to hold my face up after the storm of PTSD and I;ll show my face. If at all this disorder does make one feel ostracized not all because of childhood trauma? Thanks. it’s nice to get this recognition after surviving the chase.

  25. Posted by William M Estes on February 8, 2018 at 11:34 am

    I have had anxiety diorder exsplsive behavior disorder bipoler, I signed up for disability. They had me see they’re doctors he diagnosed me with PTSD because of my childhood of being mentally and physically abused. What’s my chances of getting disability?

  26. I am not a lawyer but have been through the process. You will get rejected first time. You have to be persistent.

    Find a lawyer, they get paid of you get approved. Getting ssdi for PTSD I’d harder than if you had a physical injury.

    Also depends on the severity and your ability to document the abuse. Hopefully a childhood lasting a whole childhood will get an approval.

    It is a slow process

    Good luck

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