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How to Document PTSD Symptoms to Earn Disability Benefits

How to Document PTSD to Earn Disability Benefits

Did you know that PTSD was originally referred to as “shell shock” during World War I, and “combat fatigue” during World War II? Over the years, we’ve come to understand that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder isn’t exclusive to war or combat, but is rather a health condition triggered by a traumatic event – either experiencing or witnessing it. Examples range anything from abuse, violence, serious accidents, or even natural disasters. 

Living with PTSD can be unpredictable. For that reason, the Social Security Administration does consider the condition to be debilitating in some cases, meaning that you have the option to apply for financial relief through their disability program if symptoms are impacting your ability to get – or keep – jobs.

How to Document Your PTSD to Earn Disability Benefits

When Can PTSD Be Considered a Disability?

While PTSD can manifest in a large number of ways, some of the more common symptoms include:

  • Hyper-awareness of your surroundings
  • Vivid flashbacks that make you relive the trauma
  • Intense distress in response to triggers
  • Intrusive thoughts or self-destructive behavior
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Angry outbursts or out-of-character aggression
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Difficulty experiencing positive emotions

👉 ANY of these symptoms have the potential to disrupt your everyday activities, including your ability to work or keep a job. It’s often referred to as “worker limitations” in the sense that you have to find an employer willing and able to accommodate the disruptions. As competitive as the job market is, this is often impossible in many regions. 

If you are living with PTSD and feel that it is preventing you from working or retaining employment, you may be eligible for disability benefits. But before you can get the help you need, it’s important to document your condition clearly and consistently. 

How to Improve Your Chances with the SSA

1. Schedule Regular Therapy Appointments

Not only can trauma-focused therapy often lead to better long-term results than medication, but it can also be a major contributing factor to your success or failure. The SSA needs to be able to identify the initial source of the trauma. 

Even though it can feel impossible, one of the best ways to properly document this incident is to talk about it and keep an ongoing narrative with a professional about how it’s affecting your life. 

2. Help your Doctor Understand the Symptoms of Your PTSD

It’s okay to make small talk during a routine doctor’s visit, but one thing I don’t want you to say is “I’m fine” if you don’t mean it. 

If you’re visiting your doctor for unrelated treatment, make sure you’re still reporting the ongoing symptoms of your PTSD – even if it’s only been irritability and low energy since the last time you saw them. Those details may not feel like a lot in the moment, but it’s important to paint an informative picture and keep your records consistent. 

3. Prepare Evidence for Your Hearing

If a judge were to ask you how often you experience flashbacks, or how long it takes for you to regain composure, would you know the answer? It’s a bad moment in your case when you say, “I’m not sure.”

My advice: Keep a journal and learn how to write a good ADL Form. Every time you experience a symptom, write it down with as much detail as you can. Make sure you’ve got it with you for all of your appointments leading up to the hearing!

Here’s How Our Disability Representative Can Help!

As a local representative, our disability advocate will know your case from start to finish. We’ll be involved every step of the way, and you’ll speak to the same person every time. Our goal is to make your case the easiest one to approve.

For that reason, we don’t just fine-tune what you have and put it together in a cut-and-paste format. We’ll meticulously review your case and provide feedback on the weak areas of your application and offer clear directions on what information we need and where you can find them.

Whether you’ve already begun the application process or are just getting started, we encourage you to schedule a FREE consultation to help determine the best strategy for your case 🤗 Our mission is to make your case the easiest one to approve so you can focus on your health and the things that matter.

Schedule an appointment from anywhere in the US! 📱

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